Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"the media types are pissy . . .

This is what Faux News does consistently when they a repug screws up: UPDATE: Via Media Matters, FOX News labeled the Sanford a Democrat.

  • Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 12:05:48 PM PDT

    Every fucking time.

    Sanford is a D

    It's not an accident.

  • Sudbay: Ultra-conservative Gov. Sanford admits affair with "dear, dear friend" in Argentina
    There was way more to the missing Governor story, so my obsession was warranted.

    Governor Mark Sanford just announced that he has been unfaithful to his wife. He developed a relationship with a "dear, dear friend in Argentina."

    There was, of course, the perfunctory apology to his wife and kids. Unlike many of these previous press conferences (Spitzer, Vitter), Mrs. Sanford was not standing by him at this press conference.

    Also, apologies were made to the people of South Carolina and people of faith.

    (Now with video)

    The GOP is running out of leaders. Sanford is also resigning as chair of the Republican Governors Association, too. Wonder if he'll be at the Values Voters Summit this year.

    This press conference definitely had the "ick factor." Ick.

    UPDATE: Via Media Matters, FOX News labeled the Sanford a Democrat.

    And, I can't help it. Sanford said he was crying in Argentina. I'm going with Madonna's Miami Mix:

  • Blue Texans wonders How Stupid Does Erick Erickson Feel Today?
    Erick, who once wrote, "Mark Sanford is my favorite governor in the United States," should do himself a favor and watch Glengarry Glen Ross. To quote the Al Pacino character, "you never open your mouth until you know what the shot is."

    The Lessons of Mark Sanford's Hike

    First, we need to be clear on the facts — not the media speculation:

    • Sanford did tell his staff and family where he was going.
    • Because he was traveling without a security detail, it was in his best interests that no one knew he was gone.
    • His political enemies — Republicans at that — ginned up the media story.
    • When confronted by a pestering media, things went downhill.
    • Again though, at all times there was no doubt that Sanford’s staff and family knew where he was.

    Yeah, pretty much all those "facts" are wrong. But cheer up, Erick. You've still got the incredibly popular Sarah Palin.

  • TPM captures today beautifully:

JedL (DK): They're all hiking with Sanford now

After receiving 795 comments on his announcement of the 'axeing' of Dan Froomkin, Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander finally responds with a new post:

A short break

I will be off for a few days. Blogging will continue shortly.

Must be hiking with Sanford.

  • The comments to Alexander's post are to die for, but they include this classy guy:


    I'm incredibly, unspeakably grateful for all your support.

    But lay off the ombudsman please! The poor guy broke his foot.

    Posted by: DanFroomkin | June 23, 2009 5:33 PM

  • Josh Marshall is Trying to think how many pols have gotten caught Hiking the Appalachian Trail since the 2006 mid-terms.


I don't mean to belabor the point, but the Washington Post's Dana Milbank ran some criticism today of Nico Pitney's press conference question that deserves some follow-up.

In his first daytime news conference yesterday, President Obama preempted "All My Children," "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless." But the soap viewers shouldn't have been disappointed: The president had arranged some prepackaged entertainment for them.

After the obligatory first question from the Associated Press, Obama treated the overflowing White House briefing room to a surprise. "I know Nico Pitney is here from the Huffington Post," he announced.

Milbank generally described the general circumstances correctly -- the White House told Pitney he was likely to be called on, because he could ask a question submitted by an Iranian -- but Milbank's analysis was wildly unfair.

The Post reporter/columnist/humorist described the question from Pitney as "arranged," "prepackaged," "preplanned," and "planted." Milbank added that Pitney's question sent "a message" that the "American press isn't as free as advertised."

For all the reasons we talked about yesterday, Milbank's diatribe is just wrong. Indeed, we know it's wrong in part because of the reporting done by one of Milbank's colleagues at the Washington Post.

But I have a more general question: if the White House were "preplanning" a "planted" question with a sympathetic journalist -- it wasn't, but I'm speaking hypothetically here -- wouldn't the president's team make it an easy one? Wouldn't Obama want a softball he could just hit out of the park? Indeed, when the Bush White House invited a former male prostitute to ask questions, he was called on specifically because he'd help the Bush gang out.

In Nico's case, the question was really good. So good, in fact, that President Obama largely dodged it.

Milbank's criticism isn't just mistaken; it doesn't even make sense.

  • Joe Sudbay (DC) adds:
    My goodness, the traditional media types are very thin-skinned. Nico Pitney asked the President a question about Iran at the press conference yesterday. Nico has had the BEST coverage about the post-election crisis in the country. But, the media types are pissy because omeone at the White House gave Nico a heads up that he might get called on. Stuff like that happens all the time. But, it's only okay when it's the "real" media, apparently. This morning, on the TODAY Show, before they got to their very important "exclusive" coverage of Kate & Jon, Chuck Todd, Matt Lauer and Chris Matthews all discussed Nico's question. They found it "awkward." Hmmm. I find it awkward that Chuck Todd asks such stupid, inane questions. I found it awkward that NBC's Brian Williams got to spend a whole day with the President. I find it hysterical that NBC is so worried about the Huffington Post. Nico has been providing us up-to-date news from Iran -- a situation with enormous implications. NBC, meanwhile, is obsessively focused on Kate & Jon -- a situation of no import.
Yglesias: Pitneygate

I thought I might just quote Jason Zengerle on the folks hating on the White House’s semi-coordinated back-and-forth with the Huffington Post’s Nico Pitney:

Pitney solicited questions from Iranians that they wanted to ask Obama. The White House made sure Pitney got a chance to ask one of the questions–without knowing what the question would be. And, as I’ve pointed out, it was a very good and tough question–a question that Obama answered (or failed to answer) in a way that made him look bad. Yes, the whole arrangement was a violation of Washington protocol, but then the uprest in Iran–and the way news of that uprest is being spread over the Internet–is a violation of protocol as well, isn’t it? If Obama wanted to take a question about Iran from an actual Iranian, the only way he could do so was to call on a member of the media who has a direct line to Iranians–and that’s Pitney. It’s not like he asked Obama “Why are you so awesome?” (or “Have you really quit smoking?”). It seems like the focus should be whether the question was good and whether we learned anything useful from the response Obama gave to it. I’d say yes on both counts, so this really shouldn’t be a controversy.

This is, note, the second time a HuffPo reporter has asked a question at a White House press conference, asked a question that was a lot more substantive and interesting than many of the questions from the old-school media, and then prompted a freak-out. I think it would be worth asking who would be better off had that exchange not taken place and Obama instead called on someone else. I’m having trouble finding the answer.

The reality is that there’s a lot of status anxiety among the special class of reporters who do things like attend White House press conferences. In my experience, the kind of reporters who conduct in-depth investigations or write long features or correspond from war zones are facing a lot of economic anxiety about the continued stability of their careers. But the kind of reporters who basically sit around and in virtue of the fact that their employers are important get to ask not-very-interesting questions of powerful politicians and then dutifully write the answers down (or record the answers on tape and have an intern transcribe them) are facing a kind of crisis of prestige and authority. It turns out lots of people can do the job perfectly well, even people who haven’t “paid their dues” or gotten a job at an established media outlet.

Sully: Meanwhile, Inside The Beltway

Iranians are fighting for their lives and liberty, but the real debate for Dana Milbank is over whether the White House is too close to Nico Pitney. Dday points to this video and laments:

I don't think you can find a more perfect summation of the traditional media inside Washington than this - Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza dressed like fops in bowties and smoking jackets - or more likely, dressed like their own mental projection of themselves - smugly discoursing, with CHAMBER MUSIC in the background, about Beltway gossip.


There is still something about it -- the oozing smugness, the view of politics as a juvenile game, the desperation to be above it all and too sophisticated to care, the total lack of self-awareness in failing to realize how embarrassingly unfunny it is -- that makes it a tour de force in illustrating what and who so much of the Washington media really are.

I guess it beats blogging Iran, as that unprofessional Nico is doing. Easier, anyway.

digby: Beck's Dream House

There's something really disconcerting about the fact that this stuff is getting huge ratings:

I get the angry, white male blowhard stuff. That's been around forever. But Beck brings a sort of decadent, emotional, infantilism to this thing that I don't think I've actually seen before. Maybe off-off Broadway -- or an avant garde puppet performance art installation in North Beach I saw once back in the 80s.

It's not the same old thing, I'll give him that.

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