TBogg is the Boyfriend Keith Olbermann Deserves?

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I hate to break it to you, TBogg, but KO is spoken for.

The Firedoglaker is at it again, attacking yours truly in a fit of blind partisan snrage (that’s “snark” and rage”), and once again getting his facts wrong.

The provocation this time was the fact that I pointed out Keith Olbermann’s fingerbang salute to Carrie Prejean. I actually took it pretty easy on KO, of whom I am a big fan. Unfortunately, some liberals require blind idolatry, even when it runs counter to actual liberalism.

I went on to critique the left’s treatment of Prejean, another big no-no in TBogg-land.

First, though, he references the last story he got wrong about me:

When we last saw  Conservative Pet Liberal Tommy Christopher he was getting blog-killed by Big Bunny because he had the blogdacity*  to go “shame shame” over Guy Cimbalo’s hatefuck article/post thingy. As it turned out, pretty much anyone who was familiar with Cimbalao’s article shared Tommy’s opinion, but the timing of AOL’s de-Tommyfying was enough to throw the wingnuts into a frenzy.

Well, they’re always in a frenzy, but it was kismet that day because the Mexicans, Muslims, and Negroes  were  behaving themselves. At least for for a few hours.

Now we see that Tommy has washed up on the shores of the  Mediaite (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) blog which is kinda of like the crackbaby lovechild of Politico and Tiger Beat (”Who’s Hot Who’s Not!” “Win a Dream Date with Dreamylicious Jake Tapper!” etc.).

The “wingnuts” in a frenzy? Right, like The Huffington Post, or Howard Kurtz? He also displays the same class that led him to make fun of special needs children last time, tossing his barbs at crack babies here. Real nice.

He also forgot to check his facts again. I got fired from Politics Daily, asshole. I still work for AOL now, still write about politics for them. AOL offered me a new job the next day.

He also posits that I only defend young, hot, conservative women. You know, like Kevin Jennings or Van Jones. Boing!

True, I was also fortunate enough to land a great gig with Mediaite that permits me to get out of my jammies and into the real world once in a while.

Factual lapses aside, he also goes on to miss the entire point of my post. By attacking Prejean’s tits and masturbatory habits, the left has amplified her importance well beyond what it should be, and made themselves look ugly in the process. Keith Olbermann’s (thankfully non-glistening) fingers may be worth a chuckle to some, but at what price? What average American is going to watch that and say “My, that Keith Olbermann is a clever fellow. Let me probe his views on marriage?”

TBogg says “As to his point that she has been amplified, her book sales (#846) at Amazon tell another story.” I say the problem was never that she was selling books.

Finally, before TBogg tries to accuse someone of being a “Conservative pet liberal,” maybe he should think about elevating his own editorial standards to at least equal Hannity’s. At least he admits he’s “mistaken” when somebody busts him.

Is Keith Olbermann Finished?

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Ordinarily, a story at Redstate with the title “How Does Keith Olbermann Have A Job?” would be about as noteworthy as a Megan Fox story at Asylum.  There’s a little twist to this one, though, as conservative gadabout Caleb Howe had an unexpected tag-team partner on this one.  Perhaps this is a sign of the Apocalypse, but the Redstate mainstay sourced HuffPo’s Jason Linkins, and the two teamed up for a convincing trouncing of Olbermann.

The host of Countdown has had a very bad week.  Caleb and Jason lay out the case against Olbermann with lots of tasty sauces and seasonings which I recommend you sample, but it boils down to this: Olbermann got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and now he’s trying to put the cookies back in the jar.  The problem is, they’re all chewed-up and spit-covered.  GE and Rupert Murdoch made a deal to silence the feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly, said deal to commence on June 1.  Now that the deal has become public, Olbermann is trying to erase the cowardly way in which he complied with the deal.

On June 1, Olbermann delivered an emotionally impassioned speech about how he was going to retire his Billo feud, impressions and all, in order to make the world safe from O’Reilly’s murderous talk show.  At the time, it struck me as the oddest, most overwrought thing I had seen Olbermann do.

The fact that he allowed his corporate masters to rape whatever journalistic integrity he had was bad enough, but to cover it up with an announcement from atop such an altitudinous mare turns walking this back into a journalistic Bridge to Nowhere.

That’s not the least of Olbermann’s problems, though.  His whole “I’m shocked, shocked to find that there are lobbyists hosing my show!” act when banishing Richard Wolffe from the show holds about as much water as a paper shot glass.  Again with the mushy, partially digested cookies.

While Caleb wonders how Olbermann still has a job, Linkins thinks he will pull through this episode.  I agree with Linkins that this incident won’t end Countdown, but it hurts, and there are other not-so-good signs.  Rachel Maddow bested her Countdown lead-in for the first time this week, perhaps a signal that the angry liberal niche is being overtaken by the chilled-out one.

I hope that Olbermann does adapt and survive.  Despite his flaws, I remain a fan.  I’ll take Howard Beale over Ted Baxter any day.

Going forward, he ought to stick to what he does best, which is everything but delivering  journalism lectures (how stoked do you think Dana Milbank is about this?).  When you’re serving up (admittedly tasty) Hot Pockets, you shouldn’t act like you’re Jaques Pepin.

To the liberals who are skipping Keith to watch cool-kid Rachel Maddow at 9, I suggest making room for both.  Sure, everything looks great now, but if the GOP makes a comeback in 2010, we’re going to need Keith around to spit a little fire.

Public Option the True Test of President Obama’s Game

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This has seemed like a bad week for healthcare reform.  Congressional Blue Dogs are doing their damnedest to kill the public option, and the White House seeming to backtrack on their support of it.  While expressing strong support for it, Gibbs has consistently refused to draw a line in the sand on the public option, and this week, inched back a little.

If this were any other politician, I’d be throwing my hands up in disgust, because this is how these backslides start.  The obvious interpretation is that the White House is innoculating itself from the public option’s defeat.

In Barack Obama’s case, though, this isn’t so obvious.  I’ve spoken before about his unique political MO, likening it to the “rope-a-dope.”  In this case, I hope, he’s being more of a chess player.  Since I’m more of a Gnip-Gnop player, I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

It is important to note that my confidence in the President, to this point, is based on past performance, not magical thinking.  He’s a progressive in triangulator’s clothing.  I’ve been sure he was blowing it before, only to be proven wrong.

This time may be different, however.  He was right to determine that momentum was key to passing strong reform.  Already, this week, one poll is being used deceptively to claim support for a public option is slipping.  The spineless sellout Blue Dogs think they’re in the driver’s seat.  Opponents of the public option continue to pound the public with lies.  Now, it seems like the White House is sounding the retreat.

If Barack Obama is the chess player I think he is, he’s got a plan to rescue the public option from the Blue Dogs.  If I’m right, it will involve Rahm Emanuel and some blunt conversations about mid-term elections.

I don’t think that Barack Obama is a bad enough politician to take the disastrous hit of no public option when he’s got airtight majorities in both houses of Congress.  On the other hand, he likes for it to look like the other guy’s idea.

Either way, I hope the President knows that defying his base, and 76% of Americans, is not an option.  Time to use that powder.

Washington Post Publisher’s Apology Doesn’t Wash

Update: This is a piece I wrote for Mediaite that got pushed out by other news.  The WaPo ombudsman is as unimpressed as I am by Weymouth’s explanation.

The hot, steaming mess that is the Washington Post Salon-gate scandal just keeps getting hotter and more messified.  Katharine Weymouth, the publisher who was to host the chummy, “non-confrontational” soirees with Post reporters and Obama administration officials, has issued an apology:

I want to apologize for a planned new venture that went off track and for any cause we may have given you to doubt our independence and integrity. A flier distributed last week suggested that we were selling access to power brokers in Washington through dinners that were to take place at my home. The flier was not approved by me or newsroom editors, and it did not accurately reflect what we had in mind. But let me be clear: The flier was not the only problem (emphasis mine). Our mistake was to suggest that we would hold and participate in an off-the-record dinner with journalists and power brokers paid for by a sponsor. We will not organize such events. As publisher it is my job to ensure that we adhere to standards that are consistent with our integrity as a news organization. Last week, I let you, and the organization, down.

That’s a pretty good start, but then, Weymouth goes on to explain that the way she had planned out the events would have been just ginchy.  So what happened?

When the flier promoting our first planned event to potential sponsors was released, it overstepped all these lines. Neither I nor anyone in our news department would have approved any event such as the flier described.

We have canceled the planned dinner. While I do believe there is a legitimate way to hold such events, to the extent that we hold events in the future, large or small, we will review the guidelines for them with The Post’s top editors and make sure those guidelines are strictly followed.

That sounds a lot, to me, like “Yeah, the problem was the fliers.”

The Post’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, doesn’t seem to be buying what Weymouth is selling:

Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti issued a statement describing the flier as a “draft.”

The “draft” is a single-page solicitation, printed in full color on glossy paper, which was distributed to potential underwriters for a gathering on health care. It reads: “Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth” on July 21.

Oh, it was a draft.  Kinda like those photocopied sheets they distribute in every office in America for the football pool, or something.  Just a sketchy, hastily prepared spitball-y deal, right?  Not so much.

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Alexander goes on to quote Charles Pelton, whose office produced the flier, taking a curiously high-handed attitude:

“There’s no intention to influence or peddle,” Pelton said this morning. “There’s no intention to have a Lincoln Bedroom situation,” referring to charges that President Clinton used invitations to stay at the White House as a way of luring political backing.

Do you really want to bring up bedroom hijinks here, Chuck?

The one positive, as I have noted, is that the Washington Post’s own Howard Kurtz did a good job in reporting on his own paper’s scandal.  Still, although it’s pretty clear to me that Kurtz got all he could out of Weymouth, some may question whether he really held his boss’s boss’s feet to the fire.

It also has the side-effect of undercutting Post reporters’ ability to point out other journalists’ potential conflicts of interests.  For example, when this story broke, I was immediately put in mind of Dana Milbank’s lecture of HuffPo’s Nico Pitney on Kurtz’s own “Reliable Sources.”  That splinter in Pitney’s eye is looking positively microscopic, now.

Kurtz, ironically enough, raised questions about such conflicts in reporting on the launch of this site.  In responding to criticism about his consulting business, Mediaite founder Dan Abrams was blunt:

Says Abrams: “It does seem I’m being held to a higher standard than anyone else in the history of the consulting world. That’s okay. . . . What some of the purists say is that if you’re engaged in journalism at all, you should not be able to work with business, ever.”

By that standard of purity, it would be tough to argue for the continued existence of the Post, at least under the stewardship of Katharine Weymouth.

Update: President Obama responds to ‘Public Option Cave’ Story

Update: I told you so.  Jump to the end for a statement the President released this morning, obviously in response to the WSJ article.

The Huffington Post is running the scare headline “WHITE HOUSE MAY CAVE ON PUBLIC OPTION,” linking toxraybanner this Wall Street Journal report that seems to have Rahm Emanuel begging Republicans and Blue Dogs to punch the public option in the face:

It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday.

“The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest,” he said in an interview. “The goal is non-negotiable; the path is” negotiable.

What the frak, Rahm?  Didn’t I just get done saying how you guys punked the Blue Dogs with the $611 billion HELP committee bill that includes a public option?

Coming, as it does, on the heels of President Obama’s urging that outside groups stop attacking cojone-free Democrats on the public option, supporters of the public option are not too happy with Rahm’s comments (or “Rahmments). Continue reading

“Washington Post For Sale” Bombshell Good News/Bad News

What a disappointing day for journalism.  Not minutes after I revisited the dark Playboy saga, I got an email from Lee Stranahan with his video parody of a story I hadn’t even heard yet:

Apparently, WaPo’s publisher hatched a half-baked scheme to pimp the paper’s staff, and the Obama Administration, for huge wads of cash: Continue reading

Media Lizzy Dismissed by Politics Daily:Playboy’s Hate F*** List Strikes Again

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For those of you who followed the saga of the Playboy “Hate F*** List,” it’s deletion by Playboy (then by Politico), my firing from Politics Daily, and its Editor-in-Chief’s campaign of lies to cover it up, there is a newer, sadder, much more unjust wrinkle to this story.  You may recall that Media Lizzy played a pivotal role in outing Melinda Henneberger as a liar, providing a smoking-gun email that detailed Politic’s Daily’s internal decision not to address the Playboy story at all.

Now, a month later, Melinda Henneberger has struck again.  From Lizzy’s new site: (bookmark it!)

I was informed yesterday by the (Politics Daily) Hot Seat editor that our relationship was being terminated.  Zero notice.  No reason given.  Nada.  Gee, do ya think it could be because of the Playboy controversy – and publicly outing Melinda Henneberger for lying about her relationship to the firing of Tommy Christopher?

As of this writing, Politics Daily hasn’t explained the dismissal.  I checked with other Hot Seat contributors, and none of them have been let go, although that may change if Melinda wants to cover her tracks again.

There are multiple ironies here, but chief among them is that this is an achievement of the Playboy article’s mission, to harm and marginalize conservative women.  In this case, it has managed to do so to a wonderful woman who was spared inclusion on the original list.

Along with the injustice, I object to the cowardly manner in which this was done, quietly, a month after the fact.

I take comfort in knowing that, although the intent here was not benevolent, my friend Lizzy will feel less harm from this than Politics Daily will.  Disagree with her as I might, it won’t be a tango without her.