Thursday, March 17, 2005

Bob Somerby on the press attacks on Gore; Rebecca on attending peace rallies, Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner) dedicates the current issue to Hunter

Beyond "must read" Daily Howler today. Bob Somerby's covering a great deal of ground. We'll highlight one section but make a point to read the whole thing if you have time:

So let's ask it: When Rachel Maddow traveled to Scarborough Country, brought there to debate liberal bias, why didn’t she simply state the obvious -- that the mainstream press ran wild against Gore, after trashing Clinton before him? In part, as we've mentioned before, she may not even know that this happened, so determined have her colleagues been to cover up for that mainstream press -- to cover up for men like Matthews, for the sleazy man who was willing to say that Gore "doesn't look like one of us...doesn't seem very American." Let’s face it -- so few "liberal spokesmen" have mentioned these outrages that even a bright young talker like Maddow may not be fully aware that they happened. So let's put the Clinton wars to one side and concentrate on the War Against Gore. Why was this outrage so little discussed, even when it was actually happening? Why have few Americans -- right to this day -- heard about the Washington press corps' long-running War Against Gore?
To answer that, we need to return to the actual time of the conflict. The War began in March 1999; it was being discussed every day, in real time, right here at this site. And yes, major scribes were reading this site; the mainstream press was well aware of the problems with their ongoing conduct. So why weren't your interests defended back then -- by, let's say, The New Republic? Chuck Lane was then the journal's editor -- why didn't Lane commission reports? Scarborough knows what he would have done. Why did Lane seem to do different?
Could it be that Lane put his own interests first -- and sold your interests down the river? (Immediate, obvious answer: We don't know.) After all, it was the Washington Post and the New York Times who were leading the "brutal" wilding of Gore (no, it wasn't the Washington Times, a point we'll discuss in more detail tomorrow).

And the Post and the Times are big mainstream organs, where young journalists go to build their careers and pocket those nice, fancy pay-checks. Indeed, when Lane left TNR in the fall of 1999, where did he land? Where else? At the Post! At the paper where Ceci Connolly had been trashing Gore ever since March of that year! So here’s our question: If TNR had written about Connolly's work, would Lane would have landed that job at the Post?
We'd have to guess the answer is no. No, we don't know why Lane's TNR kept quiet about the War Against Gore. But almost surely, the pattern established in Lane's career move helps explain why so many scribes kept silent while colleagues savaged Gore and eventually put Bush in the White House.
Another example? Dana Milbank wrote about Campaign 2000 for TNR right through December 1999. He also skipped the trashing of Gore. And yes, he also went straight to the Post -- the place where the trashing was occurring.
Or ask yourself about Seth Mnookin. The bright young scribe covered Campaign 2000 for Brill's Content, then a new, high-profile magazine specializing in media matters. In the summer of 2000, Mnookin took on a challenging topic -- allegations of the mainstream press corps' mistreatment of Candidate Gore. Were the Post's Ceci Connolly and the New York Times' Katharine Seelye mistreating Gore, as some were saying (including us, whom Mnookin interviewed)? Not at all, the intrepid scribe reported -- and he even found a well-known mainstream scribe (Jane Mayer) who said the complaints must be coming from sexists! (Yes, dear readers, she actually said it.) And a few months later, Mnookin moved on -- to a job at Newsweek. And uh-oh! Newsweek is a sister publication to the Post, which Mnookin had given a whitewash.

The entry really needs to be read in full. However, Rebecca will be quoting from it as well.
So check her site later tonight, this morning or tomorrow. I just heard from Rebecca and she's having the same problems I was having -- still am having to a lesser degree. After this posts, I
intend to post a note for Woman's History Month but I've told Rebecca I'll try to talk her through some tricks the UK computer gurus have passed on so far and if it goes too long, I'm going to sleep right after.

Also note that if it's Friday and you see no post, it means the problems are ongoing. And you can curse that (as I will be doing) or you can see it as an opportunity to visit the links. And you can go back over tonight's posts because there are a lot of them.

Betty notes that there are two similar posts on Bonnie M. Anderson's book. That means another e-mailed post hit. You may see mulitiple postings of that entry (in various forms, I think there are three different versions of it floating out there) and you may see the "Grab Bag" entry posting again as well because it was e-mailed about twelve times. (The post currently on the site is a direct to site post. No e-mails had arrived by the time I had finished installing the security measures our very kind and very smart UK computer gurus had passed on.)

Oh, site e-mail is

And thank you to Rob & Kara for their help this morning. It was appreciated.

There are various entries on peace rallies, marches, teach-ins and other events in the Indy Media reviews up tonight. If there's one in your area that you're thinking about participating in but you're on the fence thus far, please read Rebecca's post from Wednesday at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude:

coming together with others to show your support for peace. to show people in your area that you believe in peace. focus on that bigger purpose and just go.
i bet you have a great time. if you don't, you can gripe my ass out in an e-mail. you can cuss me out and rip me a new one. is the address. make a note of it. tell yourself, 'oh i'll go, but you better believe i will hold you responsible.' hold me responsible. but i don't think you'll have a bad time.
i think you'll find a lot of really cool people who will make a point to speak to you. and you'll be glad that you stood up for peace but you'll also be really proud of yourself for confronting a fear head on.

Let's also note Amitabh Pal's entry on his every Tuesday blog at The Progressive:

So now the Bush Administration and its flacks are claiming credit for the outbreak of democracy in the Arab world. They say the Iraq invasion is finally justified because it has at least partly been responsible for the stirrings of democratic sentiment everywhere from Lebanon and Palestine to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
One can't blame them. After all, each and every other rationale for the Iraq War has come a cropper, ranging from the supposed WMDs to the fictitious Al Qaeda-Saddam link. Initially, the human rights and democracy argument was almost an afterthought for Bush Administration officials. But as the other justifications proved more and more hollow, Bush and his people increasingly seized on democracy as a defensible reason for ousting Saddam. The recent Iraqi elections only emboldened them, despite the fact that the United States was itself ambivalent about having elections in Iraq and despite the problematic nature of the election. The Sunni boycott and the overrepresented Kurds may yet herald disaster.
Unlike some other liberals and progressives, I'm not completely cynical regarding U.S. claims about spreading democracy around the world. I just think that such efforts are almost always trumped by strategic or economic considerations.
But what exactly is the Bush Administration taking credit for in Palestine? The death of Arafat? Even Arafat won elections democratically, although he misused that mandate to set up an autocratic and corrupt state. The greater willingness for peace shown by Mahmoud Abbas is in spite of the Bush Administration's one-sidedly pro-Israel stance, not because of it. The real question here is how much can he bend without having his own people revolt against him.
[. . . Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon are discussed -- and worthy of reading, but fair use means we can only quote from some of the entry]

In the wake of an Iraqi conquest that has turned sour and in the face of all its other justifications demolished, the Bush Administration -- with help from a compliant media (case in point: Fareed Zakaria's cover essay in the March 14 issue of Newsweek)—is bragging about the recent changes in the Middle East. But its claims about being the harbinger of democracy in the Middle East are as hollow as its other rationalizations for its Iraq fiasco.

Rob noted that Rolling Stone's current issue features strong coverage of Hunter S. Thompson.
I haven't made it through the whole issue yet (it arrived today) but I have read Jann Wenner's
"My Brother in Arms: Hunter S. Thompson, 1937-2005" and we'll quote a section of it:

These are sad days here at ROLLING STONE. This morning I cried as I struck "National Affairs Desk: Hunter S. Thompson" from the masthead -- after thirty-five years. Hunter's name is now listed with Ralph Gleason's on what Hunter would have called "the honor roll." Hunter was part of the DNA of ROLLING STONE, one of those twisting strands of chemicals around which a new life is formed. He was such a big part of my life, and I loved him deeply.
He was a man of energy, physical presence, utter charm, genius talent and genius humor. It's very hard to have to give him up and to say goodbye.
When I was a young man, twenty-four years old, in the summer of 1970 (the year of the photo on the cover of this issue), I had the great fortune of meeting Hunter. He came to my office, then in San Francisco, to settle the details of writing an article about his campaign for sheriff in Aspen, Colorado. He was thirty-three, stood six-three, shaved bald, dark glasses, smoking, carrying two six-packs of beer; he sat down, slowly unpacked a leather satchel full of "travel necessities" onto my desk -- mainly hardware, like flashlights, a siren, knives, boxes of cigarettes and filters, whiskey, corkscrews, flares -- and didn't leave for three hours. He was hypnotic, and by the end I was suddenly deep into his campaign.
The record indicates that in 1970 we did "The Battle of Aspen"; in 1971, he wrote about the stirrings of Mexican unrest in East Los Angeles, based in part on a fiery lawyer named Oscar Zeta Acosta, who later that year emerged as Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
In 1972, we began nonstop coverage of the Nixon-McGovern presidential campaign. Hunter took over my life then -- and for many years after that when he was reporting (long nocturnal telephone calls and frequent all-night strategy sessions) and especially when he was writing. He was demanding in his need for time, attention, care, handling and editing. He was relentlessly creative, honest and wickedly funny.

For the many members bothered by the add-water-to-a-drug-tale-and-snicker coverage that passed for noting the death of Thompson, I think you'll enjoy Wenner's rememberance.
And Rob says all four of the other articles are strong ones too:

The Final Days at Owl Farm by Douglas Brinkley
The Last Outlaw by Mikal Gilmore
A Pair of Deviant Bookends by Johnny Depp
Memo From the Sports Desk by Raoul Duke

In addition, RS also has available online:

Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) (the RS obituary)

And they've also made available the following pieces written by Thompson:

Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004
Fear and Loathing at 25
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Excerpt

We've lost a lot of strong voices lately. Rolling Stone has gone all out to salute one of their own.
(Thompson even graces the cover.) So consider checking out the issue online or in print. (And let's note that although Hunter S. Thompson is a cultural figure, it was still a brave decision on Wenner's part -- and a compassionate one -- to dedicate the issue to Thompson. Few writers, living or dead, make the cover of magazines these days due to the fact that they aren't considered to be good for sales. Wenner knows the cover hierarchy and the sales risk involved.
This issue is for the Rolling Stone family of readers. Wenner deserves credit for that choice.)