Iraq, media, quicklink, US Politics

William Safire, once again.

I should really stop reading William Safire’s columns, I suppose. Yesterday, the Ny Times provided the world with another marvel. He’s writing about “The Age Of Liberty”, the new Bush foreign policy theme song, after ensuring the reader that he has indeed read, and re-read “the serious speech in its entirety.”

That’s good news, I suppose, as it implies that even the Republican spokesperson at the NYTimes (if only by accident) acknowledges that “seriousness” is something worth mentioning when President Bush is speaking…

He’s also explaining that, apparently, a rethoric Europeanization is going on in the White House speechwriting offices, one that is, unfortunately, so subtle it has to be explained even to the readers of the NY Times… – “He chose “influential” rather than “powerful” to stress our democratic example.”

But he’s right about one thing: Instead of reading summaries, including his own, one should proceed to reading the real thing. Well, where he’s right, he’s right.

Iraq, media, US Politics

The Economist surrenders.

wielders of mass deception?Now look at that – The Economist is getting warier of supporting President Bush and Tony Blair. Given that the magazine was among the very few European outlets which decidedly supported the war on Iraq because of the dangers posed by the assumed proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a cover like this week’s must be considered a clear indicator of a shift in editorial policy. Now the interesting question would be – taking the headline quite literally – how could the Economist be deceived like it has?

media, quicklink, US Politics

Georgy Buzz.

As far as my sitemeter tells me, Georgy Russell must be doing some pretty good PR over in California – or she has bribed someone at Google.

Yesterday, she apparently was on the cover page of USA toda. And now someone has even set up a domain featuring a very likely fake picture of her. She writes in her blog: “As I see it, if people are talking about me, that’s better than not saying anything.” She’s right, it would certainly do more harm than good to go after the person who has set up

media, quicklink, web 2.0

Mainstream Blogging.

Maureen Dowd reflects about the mainstreaming of blogging –

“Don’t get me started on the Blaster virus sabotaging Microsoft systems, or the cram of spam reminding us that the average American is an impotent, insecure, overweight, tired, depressed loser desperately seeking to refinance. The most telling sign that the Internet is no longer the cool American frontier? Blogs, which sprang up to sass the establishment, have been overrun by the establishment.” (from the NY Times)

almost a diary, Iraq, media

Quality Journalism?

At least for the mo­ment, I am not real­ly com­men­ting the quar­rel bet­ween the Labour go­vern­ment and the BBC that very like­ly led to the tra­gic sui­cide of Dr. Da­vid Kel­ly, who was the ori­gi­nal sour­ce be­hind the BBC Radio 4’s de­fen­ce cor­res­pon­dent An­drew Gil­li­gan’s claim that the British go­vern­ment, most pro­mi­nent­ly Alas­tair Camp­bell, Tony Blair’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­vi­sor, ‘sexed up’ the Bri­tish Iraq dos­sier to make a more con­vin­cing case for war.

But wha­tever you think of the go­vern­ment’s, or the BBC’s, or Dr. Kelly’s, or any indi­vidual jour­na­list’s res­ponsi­bili­ty for the tra­gedy, some peop­le in go­vern­ment ob­vious­ly for­got some ba­sic rules of po­li­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. When some­one says “liar”, you don’t fuel that dis­cus­sion by sul­king­ly re­ply­ing “no, you are” when the only result will be that bad situ­ation be­comes an even wor­se one.

I just don’t un­der­stand why Mr Camp­bell felt the need to re­live Shell’s 1995 Brent Spar com­mu­ni­ca­tions disaster when there was no need what­so­ever?

Whatever the truth to his or An­drew Gil­ligan’s po­si­tion, tal­king about it cer­tain­ly made things worse at a time when the pub­lic dis­cour­se was “shame on you if you fool me once, shame on me if you fool me twice”. What­ever the truth to either side’s alligations, with­out fi­nal­ly fin­ding some buckets of poi­son some­where in the Iraqi de­sert, the only way for the British go­vern­ment to deal with the si­tu­ation would have been to shut up, not to hunt down an al­le­ged trai­tor or char­ging the BBC with jour­na­lis­tic mis­con­duct to ma­ke every­one be­lieve that there must be really some­thing to the story.

That’s all I’m going to say.

My for­mer em­plo­yer Ben Brad­shaw on the other hand, for­mer BBC jour­nalist and now Par­lia­men­tary Se­cre­tary in the Bri­tish Depart­ment for Envi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Affairs, is very invol­ved in this row.

And, again, what­ever your opinion of all this: his re­cent de­plo­ring the lack of qua­lity jour­na­lism and sour­ce veri­fi­ca­tion seems to have some point when even “The Guar­dian“, even in a time­line of the affair publi­shed on July 19th, makes him a “For­eign Of­fice Mini­ster”, a po­si­tion he left in June 2002 when he was appoin­ted “De­puty Lea­der of the Hou­se of Com­mons”.

media, oddly enough, US Politics

Shorter Denis Boyles.

Denis Boyles over at the National Review Online reviews last week’s European Press for the literate American conservative. Here’s a summary :

“Germans are sissies for not agreeing with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that calling the “annoying socialist” Martin Schulz a Nazi is indeed really funny. Why? Germany is Unpatriotic/ Antiamerican/ LEFT/ EVIL to its core as it was against the war in Iraq. And Silvio Berlusconi was for the war (boy did we kick Saddam’s ass!). And he’s also rich, powerful, and never has to actually pay for the illegal stuff he did, aka self-made, which is really cool in my book. But those sissies on the European LEFT/EVIL, just can’t see clearly. They’re always lamenting about justice (bleah). Europe needs more RIGHT people like Mr Berlusconi. Disclaimer: Beware – Europe is in the hands of THE EVIL/THE LEFT! Ceterum censeo THE LEFT/THE EVIL should be destroyed.”