Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's Not
X's & O's

'Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.'
-- Vince Lombardi


At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Buster said...

Where is that New York Times ombudsman when you need him? Take a look at TPM Cafe on NYT front page Edwards piece. I think he's window dressing.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Buster, I read the TPM take, as well as the original story on Edwards, and I can't say that I fundamentally disagreed with the Times piece. It wasn't a terribly accusatory article. It just made the point--and proved it with evidence, I thought--that the poverty center was essentially designed as a vehicle for keeping his presidential hopes alive, absent the bully pulpit that an incumbent's office would have provided.

Based on the evidence marshalled, I don't consider that a terribly controversial position, nor a particularly negative hit on him. They were just pointing out the facts. As much as I like and respect Talkingpointsmemo, and I'm on the record about that several times, I also think they occasionally get a bit too partisan in automatically defending everything Democrats and liberals do. Serious newspapers, of course, can't afford to do that.

I should also point out that I happen to prefer Edwards to the rest of the Democratic candidates. But that doesn't mean he should get a free pass in the coverage.

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Buster said...

About the new NYT ombudsman, Clark Hoyt: his credentials at Knight-Ridder/McClatchy are beyond reproach. But there is a big difference between personally running the coverage, as he did there, versus writing a column a couple of times a month, as he is to do at the NYT. He could only make a difference if he pulls no punches, AND management makes it clear that his criticism will be heeded.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, the jury is still out on him, but like you say, his credentials are promising. As for whether he'll be heeded, that's a mixed bag, depending of course on the criticisms. But the power of embarrassment is always there.

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Mädchen said...

Oh dear gents, I hate to get in the middle of the Mr. Bluster/WWW lovefest (okay, gabfest), but if you want to talk leads, this one strikes me as required reading, and far more significant than Mr. Douthat's:

In the fall of 2003, a piece of Rupert Murdoch’s sprawling media empire was in jeopardy.

Congress was on the verge of limiting any company from owning local television stations that reached more than 35 percent of American homes. Mr. Murdoch’s Fox stations reached nearly 39 percent, meaning he would have to sell some.

A strike force of Mr. Murdoch’s lobbyists joined other media companies in working on the issue. The White House backed the industry, and in a late-night meeting just before Thanksgiving, Congressional leaders agreed to raise the limit — to 39 percent.

One leader of the Congressional movement to limit ownership was Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi. But in the end, he, too, agreed to the compromise. It turns out he had a business connection to Mr. Murdoch. Months before, HarperCollins, Mr. Murdoch’s publishing house, had signed a $250,000 book deal to publish Mr. Lott’s memoir, “Herding Cats,” records and interviews show.

An aide to Mr. Lott said the book deal had no bearing on the senator’s decision, and a spokesman for Mr. Murdoch chalked it up to coincidence. Still, the ownership fight showcases the confluence of business, political and media prowess that is central to the way Mr. Murdoch has built his global information conglomerate.

His vast media holdings give him a gamut of tools — not just campaign contributions, but also jobs for former government officials and media exposure that promotes allies while attacking adversaries, sometimes viciously — all of which he has used to further his financial interests and establish his legitimacy in the United States, interviews and government records show.

Mr. Murdoch may be best known in the this country as the man who created Fox News as a counterweight to what he saw as a liberal bias in the news media. But he has often set aside his conservative ideology in pursuit of his business interests. In recent years, he has spread campaign contributions across both sides of the political aisle and nurtured relationships with the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

More than 30 years after the Australian-born Mr. Murdoch arrived on the American newspaper scene and turned The New York Post into a racy, right-leaning tabloid, his holding company, the News Corporation, has offered $5 billion to buy a pillar of the business news establishment — Dow Jones, parent company of The Wall Street Journal.

The sale would give Mr. Murdoch control of the pre-eminent journalistic authority on the world in which he is an active, aggressive participant. What worries his critics is that Mr. Murdoch will use The Journal, which has won many Pulitzer Prizes and has a sterling reputation for accuracy and fairness, as yet another tool to further his myriad financial and political agendas.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You're right on both counts: that that piece was extremely well-written, and that the underlying subject is more important. The NYT followed up that first part of the sprawling Murdoch saga (published yesterday) with today's equally important look at how he's operated in China. Thanks for adding your perspective, as always.


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