Sunday, February 20, 2005

Comments/Concerns blah blah blah

I'd like to thank the members who wrote in praising today's Third Estate Sunday Review. (I hope you wrote them.) They are community members and I'm really proud of them, of Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) and of Folding Star (of A Winding Road).

One e-mailer, who asked not be named but said I could quote from the e-mail, wrote of "divided loyalties" and wanted to know if I was "committed to this site or to Third Estate?"

I'm committed to a community, The Common Ills, and for now that's all. (Though some might assume I need medical committment.) It's become a pattern on Saturdays that the Saturday posts will not be coming in the way they might on other days. I'm sorry about that. But I will help (such as it is) everyone in our community that I can with doing their own blog.

Rebecca and I feel differently on Unfiltered, obviously. I'm fine with that. No, I'm glad about that. She's a valued voice and adds to the discussion. More power to her. And we don't do the Senate coverage here that Folding Star does. And The Third Estate Sunday Review is an enjoyable read, a Sunday paper online.

One e-mailer wrote that though they agreed with the editorial in The Third Estate Review today, they felt that some bloggers got attacked "and how do you feel about that?"

I don't think any bloggers were attacked in that editorial (my opinion). The issue of the editorial is CJR Daily. I'm not aware of any attack that I've done on any blogger. (Point it out, if you have an example: I didn't attack anyone for running nude photos of Jeff Gannon. People need to cover what interests them. The issue is more voices, not less.

And that's the point of the editorial by The Third Estate Sunday Review (my opinion). It's not saying that ___ [blogger] isn't good at what they do. The point is that there is a limited range of voices that CJR Daily covers. That's a point we criticize at this site.


We are a resource/review that attempts to highlight other voices -- members and people you can find online or in print. That's the whole point of citing people who speak to us.

That CJR Daily has limited their "Magazine Report" and their "Blog Report" is a serious issue.
That doesn't mean, "Damn, Newsweek!" That does mean CJR Daily hasn't done the job they said they would in their opening statement (when they were Campaign Desk).

Betty Friedan's loathing of Gloria Steinem is pretty much public knowledge. (If you've bothered to look into it.) I'm not a huge fan of Friedan (I am of Gloria Steinem) but, my opinion, Friedan missed the point when she was shoved to the side by the press, Steinem wasn't responsible for that. (As Susan Faludi points out in Backlash, it was the press's natural tendency to go after a "new" -- read younger -- face.) And people who have been cited by CJR Daily (or whose blogs have been cited or magazines), as far as I know, aren't responsible for the citations they've received. (That's badly worded, but I'm tired. I'm saying that they are not screaming, "Highlight me! Highlight me! We're buddies!")

So when the e-mailer wrote that "I can understand you being jealous of ___ but that's not their fault." I agree it's not their fault. Absolutely. But I disagree that any blogger was attacked.
And I disagree that I'm "jealous" because of ____ being cited.. You're seeing a catfight that isn't taking place. I doubt ___ is aware of this site and I certainly don't follow ____'s site.

It may be a wonderful site, but I've never visited it. My time is very limited and I've noted in other areas the sites I personally go to without prodding from members.

I don't comment on what I don't know about and since I don't go to those sites, I'm unable to comment on whether they do good work or not. I would assume they speak in their own voices and if that's the case, more power to them.

[I also don't follow CJR Daily and have no desire to be "noted" by them. Our community is welcoming to new members, but I'm not attempting to drive up our numbers. I'm having enough trouble reading the e-mails as it is.]

I love Ron's blog (Why Are We Back In Iraq?) but I don't even have time to visit that site. (Thank you Billie for copying and pasting items from that blog and sending it to the site.)

If someone got mentioned at CJR Daily, more power to them. The editorial (my opinion) doesn't attack them for that or any other reason. It focuses on a lack of disclosure involving personal contact on the part of people at CJR Daily.

I didn't help with their note to the readers (Third Estate Sunday Review's). I don't think I ever have. I was already focused on other things while they composed that. But it was noted in an e-mail, so I read it. (No, I don't have the time to read The Third Estate Sunday Review on a busy Sunday like today. On days like today, I know that I'll have to pick it up later in the week.) In their note they discuss differences of opinion over the editorial and the e-mailer to this site wants to know what they were.

My reply is that you ask them. They'll answer you or not -- as is their right. But yes, we do disagree from time to time (and there are at least two differences of opinion that made it into their final draft of the editorial) but it's okay to disagree.

Just as every member doesn't agree with everyone of my personal opinion (which I do try to identify as such), I don't agree with everyone of every member's opinions. But we've all got the right to express ourselves. And what someone may note may be worth noting and what I may note may be worth noting. Or we may all be full of it.

But I'm addressing this issue for the last time. Unless I've stated a personal opinion here and for that reason you want a response to that, I'm not responding.

This issue has gotten very old to me. I think that many who e-mail with questions are just wanting a reassurance that there's no animosity. There isn't. So consider that addressed for hopefully the last time.

We touched on this with Interesting Times when it was mistakenly believed that they were endorsing Simon Rosenberg. That wasn't the case. But as I noted in that entry, they can endorse whomever they want. That wouldn't make them bad or make us take down our link.
It's come up repeatedly with Rebecca and people expect me to respond with some sort of "How dare she!" If she ever writes something that is not what she personally believes, I might think, "How dare she!" But she's writing what she believes in her voice and she has the right to do that. It's come up last week with Ron's comments about the coverage of the Jeff Gannon story. Ron can write whatever he wants. Me, I like Ron. We exchange e-mails often.

In fact, for those wanting a tidbit, I had intended to interview Ron for today's The Third Estate Sunday Review but there were time constraints that prevented that.

Ron can comment on whatever he wants on his blog. Rebecca can do the same. Everyone can do the same. The point is not to have an echo chamber but to have people writing about what means something to them. That's why we do not focus on social security, for instance, just because it's apparently the topic de jour online. That's great if that speaks to someone. But we're not going to try to chase something down just because everyone else is.

I'm more prone now that Folding Star is doing A Winding Road to not comment on the Senate because that's FS's beat. I did e-mail Terry Gross's Fresh Air interview to FS for that reason. And I noted that we were going to focus on social security in the entry I was writing but to grab that and anything else that spoke. I've done the same with Rebecca.

But I don't attempt to be part of an echo chamber and am more thrilled when a member or I can highlight something here that's not getting a great deal of attention. (For me, that usually means from the mainstream because my blog information is spotty at best. And what's being discussed elsewhere is usually brought to my attention via e-mails.)

There was an article yesterday in the Times about the man who defended Lynne Stewart in court. With it being Saturday and having other things to blog on that morning and other things to do that day, I passed it on to Rebecca who may or may not write about it.

We'll be adding a blogger at the end of the month or the start of March to our permalinks. It's someone whose site has often been mentioned in e-mails. After the flare ups over, "How could you add . . ." in the past, I asked ten members to follow the site to make sure it wasn't just me that was impressed. (Eli, Woody, Ben, Cedric, Domnick, Kara, Keesha, Lynda, Trevor, and ??? are the ones serving on the board that have approved that decision. Why them? They write the site regularly and they have a variety of views. I'd asked five additional members who pleaded off citing time constraints -- which I can certainly understand.) But setting up a group to review that site before adding it was because I didn't want to hear, "How could you! Don't you know that on Sept. 3 of two years ago ____ wrote ____!"

I'd considered tossing out the name here and offering a "speak now or forever hold your peace" option prior to adding it. But then I thought that might end up being humiliating to the blogger invovled. So a review panel was set up when I decided that this blogger that keeps getting cited in e-mails was worthy of our notice because I could be wrong. I'm not a blog expert. And certainly, ten eyes reviewing the blogger are going to see things (good or bad) that I might not.

We'll also be adding Bill Scher's Liberal Oasis. That's because a number of you are noting it and have been for some time and he was almost added much earlier but wasn't because I thought one of the blogs we were adding at that time was run by a woman. And women are not the ones getting a great deal of attention as bloggers. So I put it on hold. And then put it on hold. And then again. Which is a real shame because I do check out the Monday report on the Sunday chat fest. And I've been told by one member that a Times story on the draft was largely overlooked everywhere but he was able to get it noted on Scher's site and The Raw Story. And Scher's site has often been cited before. So since I'll now be turning over the last word on who gets permalinked to a board, I want to be sure and get Scher in as the last one we'll add that I'll take full responsibilty for. So when those links go up, anyone angry or mad can relase any rage over linking to Liberal Oasis (hopefully no one will be enraged) at me and at me solely. But that will be the last link that I'll take full responsibility for.

Back to e-mails.

Frank in Orlando: . . . And it was appalling to me that you wouldn't come out and say that the Times does not hate Irish. Don't you know that they employ Maureen Dowd? And they employed Safire until he retired? . . .
[That's all Frank wanted to quote from his 7K e-mail on this topic.]

Maybe William Safire is a big supporter of the Irish and their causes. If so, I'm unaware of it. (I'm also unaware of any animosity he has towards the Irish.) But I believe he's Jewish and I know of no Irish extraction in his family tree. ("I know of no" -- I could be wrong.) Dowd, I believe, does have Irish roots in her family.

Having noted that, Dominick's question was not whether or not the Times (as a system/institution) hated the Irish, he asked if they were anti-Catholic?

I replied that I do not know, but I would hope that they weren't.

I'm really not sure where the problem with that was. I'm not Cokie Roberts. I'm not able to weigh in on things I know nothing about. I have no idea where the institution stands. Dominick's e-mail was careful worded citing many instances. He didn't want it quoted in full because he felt he would be "attacked" if it were. Frank in Orlando's misreading of what was quoted suggests Dominick had reason to worry.

Dominick had a concern and we addressed it by noting it and my offering that I have no idea. Considering that Frank in Orlando has had many, many concerns addressed at this site, I'm failing to see how Dominick's question (at a time when the paper was minimizing the death squads of the eighties, when they were pushing the notion of a great turning against the IRA by the Irish Catholics in Ireland, when the priest abuse stories continue to be spotlighted within the paper, etc.) was something he wanted addressed. I can't address it. I don't know.

But he is correct that the story Saturday on Ireland and the IRA was not realistic reporting. And why that was, I don't know. (Could just be the paper's usual reliance upon official stories and their long standing tendency to do back flips as each administration's state department decides what their view is this four years.)

He was serious about his question and there are many questions like that in e-mails. Reconginzing his question served two purposes. One, it put something out on the table for others to comment on if they wanted and something that they could follow even if they didn't want to comment. Two, it underscored what I've stressed repeatedly on this site that if there are only two camps, put me in the Ellen Goodman one (my apologies to Goodman) and not the Cokie Roberts one because Goodman's points about how no one can be an expert on every matter and that she refrains from that. Cokie Roberts knows no bounds. She has an opinion on everything (my opinion, ill informed opinions).

It was a new question in that it hadn't been in the e-mails before so directly but that a few had touched on prior. It was tossed out for the community.

(Just, Frank in Orlando, as your comments are tossed out for the community to ponder.)

If Dominick wants to a question about whether bias exist or not, it's a valid question. I'm not able to answer to that question. I didn't pretend to be. We cover the Times (for now, anyway)
so it's a valid question. If you feel that you can respond to his question, Frank, then you should and allowing one line to be quoted doesn't cut it as a response. (Nor will any attacks on Dominick be printed on this site because he asked a question, just FYI.)

I want to take a moment to apologize again that there was no Black History Month highlight last night. I feel very bad (and very guilty as I noted in an e-mail earlier this evening) about that. We will be doing two tonight. We've already posted one (Keesha's highlighting of Alice Walker) and we'll do another. This is not something that I intend to happen ever again and I apologize that it happened this time.

The Third Estate Sunday Review has asked me for an interview before (and they've noted that at their site). I have no interest in doing one. (Though if I did, I'd do it for them.) This time, when the question was asked, I ended up proposing I interview Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq? instead and they were thrilled with that idea because they admire his work. Ron was for it as well but noted that there might be time problems with doing it. When time constraints did arrive, I felt awful and personally responsible because I'd just provided them with (at the last minute) a huge hole in their Sunday edition. I made a list of possible people and they were for Folding Star who was at the top of the the list I made.

(I only found out today that Folding Star had turned down an interview request a week or two earlier. Had I known that, I would not have pleaded for that interview. My thanks and apologies to Folding Star.)

We did the interview via e-mail and I'd assumed (and indeed told Folding Star) that we could get it done within thirty minutes. That wasn't the case. It went at least an hour and a half and may have gone on as much as two hours. (And isn't Folding Star a smarty! I knew FS was smart but felt I saw another dimension from the responses.) After which, the thing had to be written up.
By the time I was noting the clock, I'd already missed a deadline for posting a members highlight for Black History Month (if there was one, and there was, Keesha e-mailed that yesterday afternoon) and I knew I myself had no time to pull one together. (Then of course, came the editorial on CJR Daily.)

So I do apologize for missing a day on Black History Month. Next Saturday, I'll post one before I offer my eyes to Third Estate Sunday Review.