March/April

Hmm. So the June 25 Daily Caller article about me, by Jonathan Strong, included this excerpt of an old JournoList e-mail:

In April, Weigel wrote that the problem with the mainstream media is “this need to give equal/extra time to ‘real American’ views, no matter how fucking moronic, which just so happen to be the views of the conglomerates that run the media and/or buy up ads.”

Today, the Caller and Strong post that e-mail:
I think Scherer is asking a question that Raines didn’t. But it’s a silly question anyway — sure, I think the republic will survive if I become editor of the Larouche World Bodily Fluid News and the WH refuses to grant me access for something. That Lester Kinsolving gets to sit in the WH briefing room demonstrates nothing so much as how useless that briefing room is.

The problem Raines diagnoses is less Fox News and more the biases that have been with the “MSM” for a while now — this need to give equal/extra time to “real American” views, no matter how fucking moronic, which just so happen to be the views of the conglomerates that run the media and/or buy up

So I ate dirt on this back in June and that second bit was a stupid thing to write, an example of me sucking up to the liberals on the list. (The first bit is wrong how, exactly?) But notice something — the first Caller story said I wrote this in “April,” i.e. the first month I worked at the Washington Post. The e-mail reveals I said this on March 12, before I joined the Post.
I actually haven’t read every JList thread — I joined in January 2009 and my gmail tab reveals I have more than 4000 unread JList emails — but I wonder now about the veracity of what the Caller is publishing. As far as I can tell, no one is asking the website to back up its claims.

NAACP: We were snookered by Fox News

Here’s NAACP President Ben Jealous’s statement on the group’s investigation of a tape showing former USDA official Shirley Sherrod talking about mistreating a white farmer 24 years ago — a tape the group initially condemned.

“The NAACP has a zero tolerance policy against racial discrimination, whether practiced by blacks, whites, or any other group.

The NAACP also has long championed and embraced transformation by people who have move beyond racial bias. Most notably, we have done so for late Alabama Governor George Wallace and late US Senator Robert Byrd — each a man who had associated with and supported white supremacists and their cause before embracing civil rights for all.

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech.  They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

Moreover, this incident and the lesson it prompted occurred more that 20 years before she went to work for USDA.

Finally, she was sharing this account as part of a story of transformation and redemption. In the full video, Ms.Sherrod says she realized that the dislocation of farmers is about “haves and have nots.”  “It’s not just about black people, it’s about poor people,” says Sherrod in the speech. “We have to get to the point where race exists but it doesn’t matter.”

This is a teachable moment, for activists and for journalists.

Most Americans agree that racism has no place in American Society.  We also believe that civil and human rights have to be measured by a single yardstick.

The NAACP has demonstrated its commitment to live by that standard.

The Tea Party Federation took a step in that direction when it expelled the Tea Party Express over the weekend. Unfortunately, we have yet to hear from other leaders in the Tea Party movement like Dick Armey and Sarah Palin, who have been virtually silent on the “internal bigotry” issue.

Next time we are confronted by a racial controversy broken by Fox News or their allies in the Tea Party like Mr. Breitbart, we will consider the source and be more deliberate in responding.  The tape of Ms. Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP banquet was deliberately edited to create a false impression of racial bias, and to create a controversy where none existed.  This just shows the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.

According to the USDA, Sherrod’s statements prompted her dismissal. While we understand why Secretary Vilsack believes this false controversy will impede her ability to function in the role, we urge him to reconsider.

Finally, we hope this incident will heighten Congress’s urgency in dealing with the well documented findings of discrimination toward black, Latino, Asian American and Native American farmers, as well as female farmers of all races.”

“Eating the Dinosaur”

I bought Chuck Klosterman’s latest essay collection the second it came out; only over the last weekend did I pick it up and read it. I have read less depressing books. Chapter one: Why Klosterman doesn’t understand why he does or submits to interviews. Chapter the last: Why the Unabomber was right about everything, especially the uselessness of people like Klosterman.

Oh, but I’d still recommend it.

Republicans knock Jindal on BP transparency

I’ll be on Countdown later discussing local criticism of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s handling of the oil spill. One line of that criticism — anger that Jindal vetoed legislation that would have opened all of the state’s records of how it handled the spill. The governor argued that the legislation would have weakened the state’s position in future liability claims. State Sen. Robert Adley, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the Senate, called that “disingenuous and ludicrous.”

“It’s absurd,” he said. “People can eventually issue subpoenas and get these records. All he’s doing is preventing the people of Louisiana from seeing the records, while BP will get to see them.”

Adley, who endorsed Jindal in 2007, called the BP transparency veto the latest example of Jindal making “one ethics rule for himself and another from everyone else.” Rep. Wayne Waddell, another Republican and the supporter of the transparency legislation in the House, took that further.

“He wants to preach that he’s brought to the state more transparency and ethics than any other governor,” said Waddell. “At the levels below the governor’s office, he has. But the governor should represent the gold standard, and right now it’s just gold-plated.”

Neither pol argued that Jindal had been negligent at any level in his handling of the BP crisis. The problem, they said, was with how difficult that question was to answer. Questions about whether the National Guard members Jindal asked for have been fully deployed have been basically blown off with spokesmen criticizing the federal government.

“I don’t know if anything is being done incorrectly,” said Adley. “I just want it to be done in public.”

“We don’t really know if anything’s gone wrong,” said Waddell. “Unless you open up the records how do you know? Unless you’re open about how the National Guard is being used, or how the money BP owes is being used, how do you know? Is the money going to be used to plug a hole in the budget?”

Waddell hoped that more media exposure of the transparency issue would get Jindal to think about his own “national ambitions” and revisit it. Adley just wanted to get it right.

“When I leave the legislature,” he said, “on each and every issue I want to find myself on the right side of history, if possible.”

“Tea Bag Them”

In some ways, the Sunday publication of an old photo of me (April 2009) at a friend’s Easter egg party was heartening — the moment I realized the frantic campaign to discredit me really had nothing. Still, a quick explanation of why I am seen “holding a ‘teabagger’ doll.” At that party, I made a few thematic Easter Eggs that looked like characters. One was the Yellow Bastard from “Sin City,” and one was a tribute to this photo I’d taken 2 months earlier:

teabagthem

Have you ever had a photo copied in an issue of “Captain America”? I bet you haven’t. So I’m pretty proud of snapping this, and if I’m supposed to be ashamed that I made an Easter egg out of that… uh, well, I don’t even know how to react to that. There’s quite a gulf between my sources, who I’ve reestablished rapports with, and the people trying in vain to score points on me.