In Defense of Mike Hendricks, and…Bad Bad Pitch Blog


I just got done reading Mediaite’s rundown of the Mike Hendricks saga, and the material to which it links.  I have to say, with the amount of virtual ink that has been spilled over this, everyone seems to have missed the most glaring issue.

Mike Hendricks is a columnist for the Kansas City Star who wrote a somewhat douche-y email feeler for a job with a PR firm.  The email exchange was leaked, anonymously, to the Bad Pitch Blog, who proceeded to tear Hendricks untold holes of various types.

The whole thing has, apparently, damaged Hendricks’ job prospects and reputation.

Although the Bad Pitch Blog tried to hide the identity of the leaker and her firm, Hendricks obviously knew that he had sent the emails to Brandy Ernzen at Ogden Publications.  Here’s what she told Poynter Online:

Ernzen told me that she regrets putting Hendricks’ reputation at risk by sending his e-mails to Richard Laermer, one of the people who runs the Bad Pitch Blog. She said she did so because she wanted to “vent” to someone about the e-mail exchange.

“I was shocked at the way [Hendricks’ e-mail] was presented to me, in part because I felt like it was kind of putting down our industry as a whole,” she said. “But from the moment the blog went live I was nauseous. I didn’t like it at all and I realized I made a major judgment error.”

My question is, why is Ernzen expressing “regret” instead of looking for a job?  Furthermore, how does Ogden Publications expect to keep any clients or business relationships?  Even if you don’t grant that Hendricks had an expectation of privacy, have you ever heard of a company that allows its internal business communications to be used this way?

This whole episode seems to be propelled by Ernzen’s and Bad Pitch Blog’s offense at Hendricks’ air of journalistic superiority over the PR industry.  Ironically, they prove him correct in their handling of his email.  As Hendricks points out, BPB never even tried to verify the authenticity of the exchange, nor did they reach out to him for comment.

They also took gratuitous shots at him, including publishing an unscientific internet push-poll that had a sample size of 32.

I don’t know a thing about Mike Hendricks as a journalist, beyond the fact that he has been gainfully employed as a professional writer since 1984.  Could he have been less of a dick about pointing out that he’s more than qualified to write a press release?  Sure.  Did he deserve to be pilloried, to have the starvation of his family nearly wished upon him?

Apparently, BPB isn’t so sure.  They published this weird pseudo-apology several days later:

8/26 UPDATE: Comments on this post are now closed. Feedback from readers, the ones who’ve identified themselves, has made it clear this is not a post that represents our three years of content here. We’re taking this to heart and we’re already reflecting it in content moving forward.

Due to the tone of the last few anonymous comments, which we’ve left up for posterity, I’ve made the decision to close comments. If someone wants to add their opinion to this post, please feel free to email us at badpitchblog AT gmail DOT com. Thanks. — Kevin Dugan


Huffington Post’s Awesome Ted Kennedy/”Mad Men” Synergy

The treatment of Senator Ted Kennedy’s death has received almost as much coverage as the death itself.  Immediately, there were accusations of politicization from the right.    Around the web, there has been the requisite cataloging of trollish actions and reactions, and the attendant pushback.

We’ve certainly done our part, watchdogging the coverage and the reactions, and measuring the breadth and depth of the coverage.

Mediaite has also worked hard to set the world’s record for voluntary pimping of AMC’s “Mad Men,” shoehorning the red-hot cable drama into every story we can.  The Huffington Post, however, has managed to outdo us on both fronts with one fell swoop.

Read the rest at

Politicizing Kennedy’s Death For Dummies


The echo from my Tweetdeck’s delivery of the sad news had barely died down when conservatives started in: Now that Ted Kennedy had died, liberals had better not “play politics” with his death in order to get health care reform passed.  While I might share a sliver of agreement with the sentiment, we differ wildly on the yardstick.

The very first example of “crass politicization” offered up by conservatives was this Wall Street Journal article: Continue reading

Follow Friday Recs with Commentary and Urging for a Workgroup on Diminishing #ff Returns

I’m reprinting my #followfriday list below, which I do need to update soon.  Perhaps I’ll do it this weekend for next week.

First, though, I want to point out that #followFriday is losing much of its impact.  At least, that’s how it seems.  I don’t know if it’s because a saturation point has been reached, where most people have already settled on their follows, or because of the noise factor.  I suspect it is the noise factor.  So many recs from so many people, only a Twitter newbie could be that needy of people to follow.

What can be done about this?  Well, I’m open to suggestions.  Perhaps we could institute #followOnesdays, where every Wednesday, we each get to make only 1 recommendation.

I’m listening.

Here’s my reprinted #followFriday recommendations:
Continue reading

Extreme Pogo-ing a Very Bad Career Move

So, I’m reading this article about X-TREME POGO, and a few things strike me immediately.  Like, why is the Wall Street Journal covering Extreme Pogo?  Also, there’s something called Extreme Pogo?

But the most stunning part of the story is this bit, about the current World Champion of Extreme Pogo, the best of the best of the best:

Today, the young Mr. Grzybowski says he earns about $20,000 a year from appearances at fairs and trade shows as well as for stumping for one company’s jumping stick.

What the frak? Where is the justice in that?  You’re telling me that, with eons of practice, with generous dashes of skill and courage, you can rise to the pinnacle of pogo stardom, and that enables you to roll with the Shift Supervisor from Foot Locker?  Maybe pimp out your mom’s basement?

To fully appreciate the injustice, take a look at what this guy can do:


bllieddoseWikipedia’s new guidelines for its encyclopediaesque entries are a wikiwikiwin as far as I’m concerned.

Certainly, there are the balkers, the naysayers, the scoffers of wikipedia as a source of reference … but, the site is a DAMN good start as a research tool.

While quoting wikipedia – loosely or verbatim – in an article, essay, research paper, or argument may be quite foolish, it certainly can be way easier than googling – even using the news tab!  Google is great, but while it’s categorized by news, video, blog, book, etc., it is not categorized by subject – wikipedia is.

So, I was delighted…even gleeful when I read that entries and changes now would be monitored more closely. Most of us are smart enough to realize when we’re being hoodwikied, but some may not be.  It wasn’t that long ago when well-known tweeps didn’t have verified accounts…it was hit or miss – usually miss – in the authenticity department.  Most of the time, wikipedia maintains a pretty honest reputation.  But, there are scallywags:

Vandalism is the reason behind the change. All too often Wikipedia pages are marred by opposing political views, immature writers, and false information. A recent example was the falsely reported death of Senator Edward Kennedy in January; a sad proclamation that is now, unfortunately, all too true.

Some mischief-makers actually are harmless and rather funny.  Remember when somebody changed the former president’s name from “George Walker Bush”  to “George Wanker Bush?”  I would categorize that as pretty innocuous – certainly not “propaganda.” However, deliberately editing facts to defame someone is cause for alarm … and quick editing.  Good thing they’re working on it, because it seems to be going into effect rather quickly – despite a few hiccups.

For example, when doing a search for John Holder, one of the Obama Administration’s tree huggers, I noticed this. It reads: “John P. Holdren is a Eugenicist that is trying to take away the rights of all Americans and is an adviser to President Obama for Science and … ”  You get the point – and it is right up there with a website called “zombietime,” so…

Anyhoo.  Moving long to the entry itself, all seems pretty okay.  Clearly someone caught it and fixed it. Well, flash forward … and it’s changed again – this time a rather clumsy attempt at humor (?).

Long story short…wikipedia isn’t perfect…but it’s working on it.  And that’s a wikiwikiwin!

Keith Olbermann Hits Billo, Abused Children, Way Below the Belt

Let me say, first, that Bill O’Reilly is an enemy of women, an enemy of children, and an all-around content-thieving scumbag.  I believe in redemption, but that piece of shit has a loooong way to go.

But, Keith, WE are supposed to be better than that.  By “we,” I mean all thinking, feeling human beings.  I got into a pitched Twitter battle the other with a liberal because I dared to criticize your over-the-top response to some gentle ribbing, and this is why.  We are supposed to be better than this.

You, sir, owe an apology to every child who has ever been tortured at the hands of a cowardly parent, for, no matter how that child turns out, the abuse is no laughing matter.

I’m referring to your Bill O’Reilly “Best Persons” segment from last night, which begins with this line:

In his nightly round of self-applause last night, designed to drown out the echo of daddy hitting him…

Here’s the video:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Update: The YouTube clip has been removed. Here’s a link to the MSNBC version.

Now, Keith, your value as an oasis of dissent during the Bush years cannot be underestimated, but hyour escalating mean streak threatens to ruin whatever good you have done.

This isn’t a new thing for you.  Almost a year ago, I reported on a Countdown episode in which you tried to shame Sarah Palin by making a donation to the Special Olympics, while also using a “short bus” graphic to mock the McCain campaign earlier in the show.  I contacted MSNBC to see if they’d stop using the graphic, and got no comment.  The “short bus” graphic remained.

Now, again, Bill O’Reilly is much, much worse, but he’s a special kind of prick.  His assertion that a kidnapped child enjoyed his years-long rape, alone, earns him that distinction.

You, however, have sunk to an unacceptable low, and you should apologize.

Reactions to Ted Kennedy’s Death Classy…and Not Classy


The news of Ted Kennedy’s sad passing last night has been greeted with the expected wave of coverage, and coverage about the coverage.

I’m going to ignore the trolls who emerge at times like this, and focus on 3 particular reactions from prominent conservatives online.

First, there’s Ed Morrissey, who offers a clear-eyed summation of Kennedy that skips faux-sincerity and maintains an appropriately reverent tone:

Ted Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer last night and died at the age of 77.  Kennedy, whose life was marked with tragedies and losses as well as self-inflicted scandals but also with legislative victories and power, had been ill for the last year, and had missed most of the 2009 session of Congress as a result…

…As Michelle says, we will have plenty of time to analyze Kennedy’s life and work, but today is a day to give comfort to Kennedy’s family.  They will be in my prayers.

Then, there’s Ed’s boss.  I think Ed was paraphrasing Michelle Malkin rather generously.  Still, I have to give Malkin credit for trying:

Put aside your ideological differences for an appropriate moment and mark this passing with solemnity.

There is a time and place for political analysis and criticism. Not now.

Yes, there will be a nauseating excess of MSM hagiographies and lionizations — and crass calls to pass the health care takeover to memorialize his death.

That’s no excuse to demonstrate the same lack of restraint in the other direction. Not now.

I have to thank Michelle for lightening my mood a little,as she struggles mightily to be a good person here.  On her Twitter feed, she chomps at the bit a little more:

Joe Biden on Kennedy: “He was never petty.” Biting. Tongue. Ow. about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Biden on Kennedy: “Remember how he treated people.” In the appropriate time, place, and manner, we will. about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

The whole thing reminds me of Dr. Strangelove’s outward inner struggle.

Then, there’s Ed and Michelle’s colleague, Allahpundit, who can’t wait to shame liberals whom he claims are politicizing Kennedy’s death:

Lefties are now whining at me that it’s not “classy” to call them out while they’re busy shamelessly politicizing TK’s death 12 minutes ago from twhirl

It’s his drumbeat, but Allahpundit misses the point.

He’s referring to a Wall Street Journal article that discusses calls by various leaders to fulfill Kennedy’s legacy on health care, and to use of Kennedy’s name as a rallying cry for proponents of health care reform.

On the one hand, I am very mindful that folks don’t start saying, “Sweet!  Now we can pass health care reform!”  The instinct to view any political observation here as crass is very strong.

In Kennedy’s case, however, it would be crass to ignore the signature cause of his life.  Promising to pick up that baton and carry it across the finish line, expressing gratitude for his service and inspiration, these are the most natural things in the world.  Even Conservatives for Patients’ Rights recognizes this.

Crass would be using Kennedy’s memory to shame opponents of reform, or celebrating his death as just the push health care reform needed.  I don’t see anyone doing that.

Mocking and politicizing other people’s grief?  Yeah, that’s a little classless.

Billie’s Quickies….RIP Teddy

Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Mention Stealing From Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher

My Mediaite colleague, Colby Hall, chronicles the current round of navel-gazing by Bill O’Reilly, Jon Stewart, Howard Kurtz, and Mediaite over at Mediaite.  He fails, however, to point out how this story is actually all about me.

The current kerfufflet has to do with O’Reilly’s accusation that Jon Stewart (whose network erroneously but jokingly accused me of stealing from him) took an O’Reilly quote out of context, and Mediaite’s correction of O’Reilly’s assertion.  Somewhere in the mix, O’Reilly gave a shout-out to Mediaite, but he didn’t bring up his prior connection with the site’s talent.

Months before this, and before I ever wrote my first Mediaite column, O’Reilly stole a story from me and aired it out of context.  (I like to think that, even then, I was “Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher,” but just didn’t know it.)

The content in question was this video that I shot of Helen Thomas, explaining her use of the term “so-called terrorists.”

O’Reilly played the clip on the Factor without crediting me, and butchered it to omit Helen’s answer to my followup question.  To be fair, O’Reilly also steals from conservatives.

Still, the takeaway for me is that, if I’m ever in a restroom with O’Reilly, I’m leaving at least a 3-stall buffer.