Friday, October 12, 2007

Now She's a 'Humanist'

See what winning the Pulitzer can sometimes lead to? The lefty Chicago-based journal In These Times interviews PD columnist Connie Schultz, and calls her a humanist, that squishiest of all terms. Even more awkwardly, it refers to her "lovely husband's campaign trail." Chalk it up, I suppose, to a young, star-struck interviewer, who obviously bonded with her subject during a phone interview. Ms. Schultz's former PD colleague Bill Sloat (who took a buyout offer) isn't quite so admiring. He's been peppering her with criticisms for months on his Daily Bellwether blog, no doubt out of concerns about her inevitable conflicts as both a journalist and political spouse, but perhaps also growing out of some ancient newsroom feud. Meanwhile, I've been remiss in linking to these two interesting interviews that blogger extraordinaire Jeff Coryell did with her some time ago. Jeff is one of four political bloggers contributing to the new PD blog Wide Open, which I previously wrote about a little here.

13 Comments:

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Bill Sloat said...

Hi John --

About Connie I have no beef and admire her work greatly. You hit the nail on the head that I am concerned about political marriages and newspapering, or journalists being married to political officeholders/figures. That would apply to any such relationship, not just the senator's spouse. If the mayor of Cincinnati were married to an Enquirer writer I would think the same -- possible bubble in the swamp of ethics, propriety and how it looks to others. Same if it were the governor, right on down to a board of education member. It's not the people, it's the appearance that somebody can get something in print, or into the news, because of a connection.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Scott said...

John, maybe you realize this and I'm just missing it, but I assume the reference to "her lovely husband's campaign trail" is a play on the title of her book "...and His Lovely Wife." No?

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Scott, thanks for pointing out what a dunce I am. Of course that's what she was doing: simply echoing the title of Connie's book. Duh! Thanks for being smarter about this than I was. And Bill, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Scott said...

John, if that's the worst thing you do in life, then you're way ahead of me! My wife recently reminded me of the time 15 years ago, when we were first married, that I tried to install a cat door in the door leading down to our basement. It was only after I was finished that I realized I had sawed the hole for the cat flap at the TOP of the door, rather than the bottom. Jokes about cats walking around our house on stilts flew for months...

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Isn't it amazing how good a memory wives seem to have for our mistakes? The closest thing to total recall this side of a supercomputer. Here's to cloudier memories, Scott.

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

There wasn't much of a stink over NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell being married to Alan Greenspan and commenting on Fed matters without mentioning that key fact.

But then, clubby D.C. journalists would be the ones to highlight it. And she is in the club. So, no stink.

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Hey, welcome back Mr. Bluster. I was beginning to think we'd permanently lost you as a commenter. But that's more a function of how prolific a commenter you are ordinarily. Are you sure about that Andrea M. item? That one would be so obvious and so high-profile a conflict, and network TV is so under the microscope that that would be hard to slip past anyone for even a moment.

But of course your larger point--that the in-breeding between power couples in the capital is endemic, and dwarfs anything seen in places like Cleveland--is right on target. Bear in mind that Ms. Schultz has stayed away from any kind of explicit comment on such matters directly impacting on her Senatorial hubby, and always will. That's a given.

The concern among many is that it just seems bordering on the impossible to ask a general-interest columnist with wide-ranging interests and enthusiasms (and now the extra megaphone that the Pulitzer inevitably brings) to avoid eventually running into difficulties here. The thing that brought this couple together in the first place--their longstanding and passionate interest in issues of justice and social equity for the middle and working class--seems somehow destined to cause the writer unavoidable conflicts that I wouldn't wish on anyone, least of all myself. It's a thankless place to be, because eventually one probably bends over too far backward to demonstrate independence and high ethics and thus stays away from important issues that would otherwise be covered. I'd be surprised if that hasn't already happened for her. It's just a very tough spot to be in, and I sympathize with her. Doubly so because I've known and liked Connie immensely and followed her career for about 20 years.

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Andrea Mitchell accuses John Kerry of pandering after Kerry criticised Greenspan during the 2004 election: MSNBC: WORSE THAN FOX? (The American Prospect Online).

From the article:

"And in the interest of full disclosure, Mitchell and the other members of the panel said ... absolutely nothing at all.

"No conflict of interest there, folks. Nope, none at all."

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well, there you go. You got the goods. I should have known from your track record that you weren't speaking without knowing the facts. Thanks for the link.

That one is really egregious, because EVERYONE who's paying attention at all to politics, the economy and or the media should know about that married couple.

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Maybe that would have been their excuse for not mentioning the fact, had they been called on it--that everyone who is anyone (by their lights) would already know it.

 
At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

The media microscopes that really count are the ones operated by the likes of Sumner Redstone and Jack Welch--the big bosses who want to stay in the good graces of the administration.

 
At 9:55 PM, Blogger Chris McVetta said...

Connie Shultz always seems to me (at least) like the "big sister" you constantly have a sibling rivalry with in regards to writing. Although, at times, I respect her insights on some subjects, I constantly feel the need to dip her pigtails in ink at the back of the classroom. Is that wrong? Immaturity at it's best, I suppose.

Anyway, maybe I'm just upset because I feel entitled to an invitation to the "Senator's mansion" for dinner (for mushy meatloaf, Caramel Apple martinis, good conversation or otherwise) because I voted for her husband in the last election. Regardless, maybe it's just the "Charlie Brown" in me as she consistently yanks the football away as I am ready to kick it - Good Grief!

 
At 5:23 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Chris,
She does indeed have a big sisterly quality to her. But in my book, that's an entirely positive thing, since I happen to rather like and admire my own older sister.

 

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