May 1, 2012

Put-down of the day number one — from Juan Cole, pissed at Mitt Romney’s put-down of President Obama’s take-out of Osama bin Laden:

Mitt Romney said Monday that of course he would have taken out Bin Laden and that ‘even Jimmy Carter would have made that call.’
Since Jimmy Carter ordered a brave and risky but failed military mission into Iran, that was a cheap shot on the part of someone who has never had anything to do with the military.
Moreover, Jimmy Carter made peace between Egypt and Israel and played a major role in reducing the number of Africans stricken by the Guinea worm from 3.5 million to 1,100.
So Romney, who has mainly been sending our jobs overseas, isn’t good enough to shine Carter’s shoes.


The problem with Romney is that when it comes to the Muslim world, he doesn’t have the slightest idea what he is talking about, and seems intent on alienating 1.5 billion Muslims, a fifth of the world.
He wanted to substitute a crazy conspiracy theory for a tactical approach to getting Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership.
In this regard, the Obama campaign has correctly nailed him, but they haven’t gone far enough in emphasizing the truly creepy character of his obsession with Muslims in general, far beyond the fringe al-Qaeda element.

Romney knows life about as much as  Sophia Loren is way-madly in love with me.

This the one-year dateline of Osama’s demise, but in a few weeks will be the 40th anniversary of Watergate — the biggest, internal US historical event this past century, and journalism’s big-clap event.
The two guys who gained way-more-than-fame off the episode — Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein — are in the news again, this time some stuff in their original reports might might have been a little off kilter and this might have upset the Bob.

(Illustration found here).

In the mid-1970s when I started my journalism career as a lowly police reporter in Montgomery, Alabama, those two Washington Post reporters were the gem in the IBM typewriter ribbon that beckon the pride and neatness of the job for all of us in the trade.
Didn’t like Woodward too much — appeared too much of a button-down asshole — but Bernstein was my kind of guy.
In appearance,  he should have been playing bass for The Ramones instead of being in a newsroom, chained-smoked and looked like shit — I could way-relate.
In fact, I tried to emulate Dustin Hoffman playing Bernstein in ‘All the President’s Men.’

Woodward, however, looked the CEO instead one of ‘us’ regular guys in the newsroom.
And while Bernstein went on benders, dated Elizabeth Taylor, recovered from the all that Watergate fame to become a competent older journalist, Woodward has become a mouth-piece for the DC establishment — and has become wealthy.

In put-down of the day number two, Alex Pareene at Salon nails Woodward to a journalism wall of shame:

We now all know, in other words, that Bob Woodward is a sketchy reporter.
This has always been the case.
All of his post-Watergate books feature ridiculous, clearly invented (or “embellished”) internal monologues, and re-creations, with quotation marks, of scenes he couldn’t have witnessed or recorded.
He is shady about his sources, even to his editors, and because he is so well-sourced, he is always sitting on important information that he refuses to divulge, to protect his powerful sources.
His depressing flailing about the periphery of the Plame affair — Woodward was the first journalist to learn that Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, and Woodward declined to mention his knowledge to his bosses or anyone else for months after the story broke, for fear of getting subpoenaed — was proof that his balancing of his responsibility to the public and his responsibility to his sources had become, or perhaps always was, severely out of whack.
I think that Woodward has enjoyed a lack of critical attention for years now, as he’s basked in the glow of his staggering professional success, and he is terrified that he’ll be remembered not as the greatest investigative reporter of the 20th century, but instead as the ultimate reporter as pawn of the truly powerful.

Some folks are journalists, some are fame-seeking hacks.

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