Monday, November 14, 2005


I'm walking to the front door when the phone goes off. It's Kat. She's advising me that Blogger's going down in less than a half hour. Do I think I can get a post up in that amount time?


Ava and Jess said there are a number of e-mails about Robert Scheer. So we'll note this by Katrina vanden Heuvel (Marci e-mailed to note it), "Cruising With Scheer" (Editor's Cut, The Nation) and this excerpt is from a speech Scheer gave:

"From the company's point of view, it was a dumb move...If only they were interested in sales and profits--be better newspapers. This was a stupid management decision, A bad marketing decision...Let's go bland and safe. "
"The publisher is a wise guy accountant, a bean counter from Chicago. These guys come in from Chicago. They don't know the community, and buying the LA Times may be illegal. The Chicago Tribune already owns a TV station in same market and they're going to need a waiver request which comes up next year. The publisher/bean counter's Pasadena golf buddies probably warned him about me--that flaming leftie. Now, (Times founder) Otis Chandler was no liberal but he understood his community. The paper is in decline. They have 300,000 fewer readers now than when I went to work there nearly thirty years ago....The Times needed me more than I need it...I always have two or three balls in the air at same time...That's why I teach full-time at USC's Journalism school, do my radio show, write books. It's the only way to live. I've been preparing for this moment for 30 years. I wrote this column for 13 years and never missed a deadline.
Probably the main reason they got rid of me was O'Reilly and Limbaugh made a living out of attacking me, pounding, pounding away and doing mass mailing campaigns against me and using me as a punching bag. But I'm still standing; the paper may collapse....Would never go back to LA Times, and I start at the San Francisco Chronicle next week. They called Wednesday to offer me a column. And my syndicate stood behind me, and the syndicate's editor, a conservative, was quoted in Editor & Publisher saying he was 100 percent behind me. And it's the same syndicate which runs O'Reilly's column.
These bean counters from Chicago are so cowardly that the day after the paper won five Pulitzers they flew into LA and met with chief editors at Burbank airport hotel to let them know of cuts. This corporation doesn't understand that the paper belongs to readers and they forget that it's not just shareholders and wider profit margins that count." Bob then broke some news: "And this week, they're going to lay off over 70 editorial people."
[. . .]
Click here and here to email the editor (Andres Martinez) and publisher (Jeff Johnson) respectively of the LA Times.
And don't worry about Scheer. Two weeks from now, he launches his new website,

And, as we noted earlier today: "If anyone wants to express themselves, the phone number for the LA Times is (213) 237-5000. Letters to the editor can be sent via"

Now let's note Elaine's "The real miracle, still, is to walk on earth" (Like Maria Said Paz):

I hadn't heard of this, maybe you have?

"Going Inside the Debate" (Danny Schechter, News Dissector):
You have all read this story by now I would guess: "GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse party's decline."
It broke in Capitol Hill Blue and probably shocked very few us us which is in itself a comment on the low regard many hold this administration. Wrote Publisher Doug Thomspson:
"A confidential memo circulating among senior Republican leaders suggests that a new attack by terrorists on U.S. soil could reverse the sagging fortunes of President George W. Bush as well as the GOP and "restore his image as a leader of the American people."
"The closely-guarded memo lays out a list of scenarios to bring the Republican party back from the political brink, including a devastating attack by terrorists that could "validate" the President's war on terror and allow Bush to "unite the country" in a "time of national shock and sorrow."
Funny thing about this story is that this scenario is layed out in Larry Beinhardt's must read novel The Librarian, a political thriller about a plot to steal an election. Beinhart wrote an earlier novel that inspired the movie "Wag the Dog." I quote from the book in my report from Amsterdam. Scroll down.

Can you imagine what would happen if a Democratic memo was discovered with that kind of message? The headlines of every paper would scream, it would lead on the evening news, Ted Koppel would devote a full Nightline to it. There would be a lot of clucking about how shameless this is and a lot of talk about whether the Democrats were doing more talking, more than hoping.
The Republicans compose this memo and I knew nothing of it until C.I. passed it along in the e-mail. I watch the news, I read a daily paper, I listen to the news on the radio.
So where's the outrage over this?
The Republican Party can just do whatever it wants to, apparently. The White House seems to think that they can as well.

White House Tries To Alter Transcript of Press Briefings (Democracy Now!):
The White House has been accused of trying to rewrite history after requesting Congressional Quarterly and the Federal News Service to alter the transcript to a October 31 press briefing. Both news agencies reported White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan responded to a question about the CIA leak case by saying "that's accurate." But the White House insists he said, "I don't think that's accurate." So far both Congressional Quarterly and the Federal News Services have refused to change their transcripts but the White House website now claims McClellan said "I don't think that's accurate."

And that's going to be it. Blogger's often down for several hours when it goes down and I'm cutting it close trying to get this in before it goes down. (Thank you, Kat, for the heads up, or I would've logged on in about an hour and there'd be nothing up here at all.)

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