Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Channels OJ Simpson in Search of Neda’s Real Killer

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It looks like Iran may be able to start it’s nuclear weapons program just by using the fissile material in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s balls.  From Huffington Post:

9:20 AM ET — Ahmadinejad looking for Neda’s real killer. Oh brother. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…asked a top judge Monday to investigate the killing of Neda Agha Soltan, who became an icon of Iran’s ragtag opposition after gruesome video of her bleeding to death on a Tehran street was circulated worldwide. Ahmadinejad’s Web site said Soltan was slain by ‘unknown agents and in a suspicious’ way, convincing him that ‘enemies of the nation’ were responsible.”

While Neda’s heartbreaking death has become a rallying cry, Ahmadinejad’s “mission statement” here will just as surely backfire on him, as will any attempt to trump up blame for Neda’s death on “provocateurs.”

Here in the US, people everywhere have been deeply affected by the fottage of Neda’s killing.  While there have been accusations of exploitation, I prefer to presume good faith even in wrongheaded invocations of the tragedy.  It is heartwrenching to be bystanders to what is happening in Iran, but that is where we find ourselves, watchers and retellers of someone else’s struggle.

Dana Milbank vs Nico Pitney=Old Media Trying to Stuff New Media in Locker

Update: Here’s Nico’s take, including the fact that Milbank called him a dick off-mic.  Also underscoring my earlier point, in Nico’s article, Politics Daily’s Lynn Sweet brags about being the only journalist besides Milbank to ask about Obama’s swimsuit.

Sure, it is delicious to watch, like trains full of fireworks colliding, but this is the culmination of a growing blood feud between Old Media and New Media.  Here’s the clip, from Reliable Sources:

Let me start by saying that neither of them did themselves a favor with their tit-for-tat deconstruction of the other’s “record,” but Milbank seemed especially childish with his Rain-Man-esque “dossier” on Pitney.  Nico would have been wiser to point out that his and the White House’s only “crime” was in trying to give voice to the voiceless.

I’ve already said my piece on the “collusion” charge, and although Milbank highlights something I didn’t know about the timeline of the social media solicitation and the White House’s contact with Pitney, it doesn’t change the larger point.  The question was not staged, the President didn’t know what it would be, and Pitney/HuffPo was selected because they have been outclassing old media with their coverage of the Iranian unrest.  Because they’ve had their ear to the ground, they were the natural choice to get a question from an Iranian on that ground.  It was a reward for responsive journalism.

Despite what Milbank and Amanda Carpenter want to make out of it, this is a win for New Media, not for partisan blogging.  It’s also the latest in a string of Old Media attempts to push New Media down the stairs, “All About Eve”-style.

Continue reading

White House on Michael Jackson

Before I get to Robert Gibbs’ statement on the death of Michael Jackson, here’s my personal favorite performance:

MJ superfan Jake Tapper broached the subject first, and Gibbs related some of the President’s thoughts: Continue reading

President Obama Demands Ahmadinejad Apologize to His People…Sort Of

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At a press conference earlier today, President Obama was asked, by the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny, if he thought Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad owed him an apology for comparing him to George W. Bush.  The President’s answer seemed to indicate that he thought Ahmadinejad ought to think about apologizing to his own people.  I asked Robert Gibbs to clarify the President’s statement at today’s White House Press Briefing:

TC: (Jeff) asked if the President felt that President Ahmadinejad owed him an apology for comparing him to President Bush, and in his reply, the President all but — he stopped just short of saying that he thought that President Ahmadinejad owed an apology to his people. He didn’t quite say that, but would you — do you think that’s what he was saying?

MR. GIBBS: I’d simply point you to what he said. I think he was fairly clear on what he meant and who it was directed to.

That sounds like a “yes” to me, but you be the judge.  Here’s what the President said:

In any case, it was a good answer to the kind of question that doesn’t usually get one.  The President’s obviously not going to engage in verbal volleyball with Ahmadinejad, but he managed to put the gossipy question into a weightier context.

Huffington Post Smacks Down Dana Milbank Over Press Conference

My pal, Jason Linkins, really unloads on the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank over Milbank’s accusation that HuffPo’s Nico Pitney asked a “planted question.”  The takedown is so thorough, I’m tempted to piss Jason off myself, just to see what he comes up with.

I happen to like Milbank, too, having gotten to know him a little during the Presidential campaign.  Like Pitney, I’ve been lectured by Milbank on journalism, altohugh in my case, Dana was right.  Milbank, in turn, got lectured and thrown under the bus by Keith Olbermann, a guy with his own problems correcting himself.

So, now, it’s Dana’s turn to be wrong.  The White House rewarded Pitney for practicing responsive journalism. and more importantly, the Iranians by giving them a voice.  This is a good precedent, not a bad one.

Still, Linkins goes at Milbank hard:

Anyway, for a few weeks now, I had been of the mind that Nico had really raised the bar for all of us at HuffPost, with his tireless and relentless focus on this story as it unfolds. It seemed to me to be the work of a serious person, and his question seemed to me to be an extension of that seriousness. But Milbank has forced me to reconsider that maybe serious journalism is dressing up in costumes, telling a bunch of unfunny jokes, and portraying yourself as an entitled ass. Seriously! I am weighing the two options carefully! With the help of this video that Milbank made with Chris “Let Me Write A Hundred More Blogs On Post-Partisanship” Cillizza.

Ouch! Here’s the video that Jason’s taking apart:

Yes, it’s a funny takedown, and yes, the MSM has been crying way too hard about a blogger being thrown a well-deserved bone.  And, hey, who doesn’t love a good pissing match?

White House: Iran Can’t Come to Our Barbecue

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On the heels of reports that the White House was considering rescinding invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend July 4th celebrations around the world, the White House now confirms that the invites are kaput.

This might not sound like such a big deal, especially in light of what’s happening in Iran, but the White House is really serious about its grilling.  They’ve got a fleet of Weber Sputnik grills for use by the family and staff, and they even got Chef Bobby Flay to do their Father’s Day cookout.  This is no joke, the Iranians will hurt from this.

If the violence in Iran continues, look for even stricter sanctions.  If I was an Ayatollah, I wouldn’t even bother researching my fantasy football draft.

This is, obviously, not a big deal, but whoever talked to reporters anonymously about this really blew it.  I mean, really:

The Obama administration is seriously considering not extending invitations to Iranian diplomats for July 4 celebrations overseas, senior administration officials tell CNN.

The officials said intense discussions on the issue were taking place, but the final decision had not been made.

You’re having intense discussions about whom to invite to your barbecue?  God, I hope that’s not true.

If any question should have been laughed at, it was this one.

Fox News Whines About HuffPo Reporter’s ‘First-Rate Treatment’

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President Obama’s press conference today was barely finished today when Fox News posted a story on their website about how a Huffington Post reporter got “first rate treatment.”  Read what’s got them in a tizzy while I get them some cheese to go with their whine:

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest personally escorted National Editor Nico Pitney to the jam-packed presser from the lower press and personally created space for him near the front of the briefing room.
No one else received that kind of treatment. After the president’s opening statement, he called on Pitney second to The Associated Press and by name. He also appeared to have some advance heads up into the coming question.

As a matter of fact, it seems the White House knew that HuffPo was soliciting questions from Iranians, and invited Pitney to ask on their behalf.  Such villainy!

Oh, and about that special treatment.  Sure, it’s a little bit special for a blogger, but I’d point out that Fox’s Major Garrett, along with al of the other TV people, got to sit down in the first 2 rows, and routinely get to ask the President and/or Robert Gibbs, a Facebook quiz’s worth of questions.

As one of the few bloggers who ever gets a question in at briefings, I can tell you that none of us want to hear the TV people crying about this.  Just eat your goddam steak and let us enjoy our bone.

Update: Ed Morrissey says Politico’s “whining” about it too.  I checked it out, and they’ve obviously updated it since then, lowering the pitch.  Still, I had a tirade all ready to go, so here is why I don’t want to hear it from Politico, either.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve called the Obama press office, during and since the campaign, and been the first reporter to ask them about a story, only to have them promise to call me back and then feed the answer to Politico hours later.  I get that they’re the bigger platform, it’s not their fault, but again, cry me a freaking river.  In the spectrum of injustice, the President rewarding responsive journalism ranks pretty low.  From Politico:

Deputy press secretary Bill Burton responds: “We did reach out to him prior to press conference to tell him that we had been paying attention to what he had been doing on Iran and there was a chance that he’d be called on. And, he ended up asking the toughest question that the President took on Iran. In the absence of an Iranian press corps in Washington, it was an innovative way to get a question directly from an Iranian.”