Sunday, April 16, 2006

NYT: Silly "cute" and War Pornography comingle

What's "important" "news"? A trend story! A trend story beats out Carlotta Gall on violence in Afghanistan, Monica Davey on reactions to changes in the abortion laws in South Dakota, Kirk Semple on the fact that Iraqi police are still missing, C.J. Chivers on Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky (founder and former head of Yukos Oil in Russia) was attacked in prison (face slashed), and David Cay Johnston's look at who's really effected by the tax cuts.

Winnie Hu contributes the life altering, world shaking, reality shattering, someone thinks it's a must read, front page story whose headline screams: "New York Leads Politeness Trend? Get Outta Here!" No, Timid, you get outta here after the embarrassment of front paging that silly piece when there were real stories inside the paper. What's the story? New municipal laws making NYC "polite" and unable to be a locale for a Seinfeld reunion special (unless they all want to return to jail).

Inside the paper?

Scott Shane's "Civilians Reign Over U.S. Military by Tradition and Design" will be noted for the following:

The idea that civilian leaders, as representatives of the people, should have the ultimate say in how the country's military power is wielded dates to colonial resentment of British rule and is embedded in the Constitution.

Brad asks that someone please put that in a telegram and send it to "Diane Sawyer and anyone else who insists upon calling Bully Boy 'your commander-in-chief' when speaking to civilians."

On the same page, A18, war pornographer Michael R. Gordon returns with "News Analysis" (in someone's mind). The title is "As Policy Decisions Loom, A Code of Silence Is Broken." Gordon's still pleasuring himself. So the question becomes: In print, is he a serial onanist or is he just unable to reach climax? Our one free hand news analyst, offering nothing but his opinion in a declarative end-of-story manner, tells us that, with regards to Iran, diplomacy did not work. Where we are now, for a little boy with a bad case of itchy blood lust in his pants, is determing "how forceful a position to take to head off Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons program."

Now this is why we repeatedly pointed out here that Judith Miller had a co-author long before she went gunning for the United Nations. His name was Michael Gordon. His passport puts his occupation as "reporter" but his heart screams "war pornographer."

"How forceful a position to take to head off"? If it's merely suspected by the 'geniuses' in the oval office, might the next step be to determine the reality of the "suspected" program? Not when you flew with Miller, not when you served shoulder to shoulder, not when official showers are your act of choice. So the war pornographer tells us that "how forceful" is the "next issue." Not determining reality. (He apparently doesn't read his own paper's reporting -- "not that I blame him, but still . . ." -- swiping from a Janis Joplin quote.)

He also announces, in what would provide chuckles were it not for that fact that we've been down this path to war with Gordo before, that diplomacy has failed. Others would be asking, "What diplomacy!" But not Gordo. If Holland-Dozier-Holland were to write a theme song for our little war pornographer it would go something like this:

The war bug's done bit me
Didn't mean for him to get me
Woo, get up in the morning
And I'm filled with desire
No, no, I can't stop the fire
War is a real live wire
Ooh, it's a burning sensation
Far beyond imagination
War is like an itching in my loins
Tearing it all apart
Just an itching in my loins
And baby, I keep scraching
Keeps me sighing, ooh
Keeps me yearning

It's why he provides a "news analysis" on Iraq that states withdrawal could lead to the escalation of "secretarian violence." Uh, what caused that violence? The occupation. And what breeds that violence? The occupation. And withdrawal ends what? The occupation. But Gordon doesn't have time for that in his new analysis -- no time to tell you that the argument bandied around (for months and years) for continuing the occupation (violence will erupt!) is also the root of the violence today. Does he grasp that?

When you're a war pornographer, you need the quick fix constantly. So Judith Miller's former co-writer provides a "news analysis" that offers no analysis and little news -- and are we surprised? When asked of the war itself, he told Amy Goodman that was "a policy judgement" and beyond the scope of his war pornography book. Policy judgements are also beyond the scope of his abilities when doing a "news analysis." Call it "Mikey and the Hand Jive." Just don't call it a "news analysis."

And? That's it. I need to get some sleep. New content is up at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: Further Disgrace for The New York Times
TV: Katie Was a Cheerleader
No Voice for the Village
Quick Take: Scalia
Pacifica Radio Highlights
Musings and thoughts on why you should be watching/listening/reading Democracy Now!
Quick Media Take
When Poodles Snarl

On "TV: Katie Was a Cheerleader" -- see Ava and I did keep our promise, it is up. The draft that was circulated was done so in an attempt to move the focus onto something else. However, many of you e-mailed saying, "Please leave __ in." That was a rough draft. Most of it is gone. Requests were noted and we attempted to leave in many things. One joke bit the dust (Rachel, Micah, West, Liang and Kara's favorite) due to the fact that Ava and I couldn't get one of the words to "read" funny. In the sentence, when read aloud, that one word was a huge, red, stop sign and the joke was lost. We'll try to recycle that (in the year-in-review in December if not sooner) but there was one word that we couldn't get to flow. Jim has written five paragraphs on the commentary (in his "A Note To Our Readers"). In it, he notes that the piece is over fifty paragraphs and, apparently, 5199 words long. Ava and I cut something like twenty paragraphs to try to make it less lengthy. If something you enjoyed from the rough draft (circulated in e-mails last week) didn't make the cut, note that we pulled some of our favorite sections as well in order to make it less lengthy. It's up there. The topic should stay there. (We cover the mainstream broadcast media there.) Neither Ava nor I have any intention to reread it. On the possibility that it may repost here at some date in the future (as Martha wants -- she thinks the TV commentary should always repost here for a number of reasons including it reminds everyone that on Sunday, new edition), we did pull one curse word used twice. I honestly think it was stronger with that word in it. Ava did as well but she pointed out, if it is reposted, one of us will have to read over it to find the curse word and put censor with "*" both times it was used. There are many wonderful things up there so don't focus on the TV commentary at the expense of the other features.

Song used as framework above is H-D-H's "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart" recorded by the Supremes. Isaiah goes up after this posts.

Martha notes Thomas B. Edsall and Zachary A. Goldfarb's "Donations for a Congressman, Profits for His Wife" (Washington Post):

One enterprising member of the House, Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), and his wife, Julie Doolittle, have found an innovative -- and apparently legal -- way to boost the family salary.
Julie Doolittle has set up a fundraising company, Sierra Dominion Financial Services. Two of her clients are John Doolittle's campaign committee and his leadership PAC, the Superior California Federal Leadership Fund. Julie Doolittle's company gets 15 cents of every dollar raised by her husband's political committees.
[. . .]
Julie Doolittle and Sierra Dominion Financial Services have become issues in John Doolittle's reelection bid. The controversy involves not only the commissions from the political committees but also payments to Sierra Dominion by Jack Abramoff and Abramoff's former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, to raise money for Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation, a charity. On Jan. 3, Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

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