A.A. Bondy
American Hearts

Leaves in the Gutter

For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Friday, April 29, 2005

Chicago Tribune to Italians and Black People: You All Look Alike!

We're starting to think they must be keeping the lights low to save money over in the Chicago Tribune photo department. Yesterday, you'll recall, we noted the Tribune's apparent fetish for publishing pictures of perfectly innocent people and misidentifying them as homicidal mobsters.

Today's Tribune Photo-Gaffe™ features Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), whom you can see glowering at Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the backround of the photo below, which I helpfully clipped and scanned from the front page of today's Metro section:

But the caption, as you can see, identifies him as Rep. Danny Davis, another African-American member of the Illinois congressional delegation. And while the Trib didn't quite call Rush a mobster, he probably has a settlement coming his way, too, seeing as how Danny Davis is Moonie freak.

It could have been worse: We hear the caption originally had him as Morgan Freeman.

For clarity's sake, here are their photos:

Bobby Rush:

Moonie Freak:

Morgan Freeman:

We Interrupt this Press Conference....

NBC, CBS, and Fox have been sufficiently tweaked this morning for cutting away from Bush's press conference last night before it was over (ABC, which stayed with the whole thing, is so obviously gunning for extra credit). But the concensus seems to be that they left the conference to air "The Apprentice," "Survivor," and "The Simple Life," which isn't quite true.

In NBC's case, at least, the network cut away from Bush's live speech to Brian Williams, who offered a summary of the presser while it was still actually happening, then to Tim Russert, who peddled his analysis of the presser while it was still actually happening, then to Andrea Mitchell, etc.

In other words, NBC didn't drop the president for Donald Trump. They dropped him so Williams, Mitchell, and Russert could get their mugs in the shot before "The Apprentice" started. If they had stayed with the conference till the very end, it still would have cut off the president by a minute or so, but at least another question or two would have gotten out to NBC viewers.

What kind of idiot decided that NBC's peanut-gallery-analysis of a live news event was more important than the live news event itself?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Picture is Worth a Hefty Settlement

Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski (left), with managing editor James O'Shea.

We're sending all our love to the Chicago Tribune, which has had a rough couple of days, what with all the publishing photographs of perfectly innocent people and misidentifying them as homicidal mobsters.


One of those perfectly innocent non-mobsters is suing for defamation. Which shouldn't be too much of a problem, since Tribune Co. already has a reserve of $35 million set aside to pay all those advertisers that Newsday and Hoy totally accidentally defrauded. Just take the money out of that, guys!

And look on the bright side: At least no bad words, or words that in any way refer to other bad words, got in the paper. That would be a disaster.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Tool Variations

The GOP should think about making Tom Waits its poster boy for tort reform. Convinced of singular uniqueness of his gravelly voice (um, Tom Waits, meet Joe Cocker. Joe Cocker, Tom Waits), the lawyer-mad Waits is threatening to sue the European division of General Motors for using the voice of what he calls an "impersonator" in an advertisement for the Opel car airing in Scandinavia. The ad doesn't claim that Waits endorsed anything, and it doesn't use Waits' voice or music. It's just a Brahms lullaby sung by some German guy that has apparently encroached on the vocal territory--a barren brownlot paved with bourbon and tobacco smoke--that Waits would like to patent for himself.

Waits actually did sue Frito-Lay for violating that patent in 1992, winning a $2.5 million judgment for "damages" he suffered from a Doritos ad that dared to use a husky-voiced vocalist. This idiocy is encouraged by the Lanham Act, a federal trademark statute that empowers folks like Waits to sue if any commercial speech is "likely to cause confusion" about whether a celebrity has endorsed a product. It essentially gave famous people exclusive ownership over commercial use of their likenesses, and was designed to prevent your local car dealership from hiring a Brad Pitt look-alike to pitch the new 0 APR financing.

But Waits has apparently decided to use it in a global campaign to prevent anybody from sounding like him. Which means if you do voiceover work, or sing ditties for a living, you might want to quit smoking and start drinking herbal tea with honey and lemon, because if you start to sound like a deluded megalomaniacal asshole, Tom Waits will sue you.

David Byrne, Investigative Dinner Party Guy

You really must start reading David Byrne's blog. He tells you some things that you'd expect David Byrne to tell you--like how tightened U.S. visa policies are making it near impossible for international musical acts to tour the States--and some things you wouldn't expect David Byrne to tell you, like which Middle Eastern political allies of the U.S. like to bugger little boys:

These writer reporter guys at this dinner party exchange amazing stories — that the U.S.-installed president of Afghanistan is a well known pederast (he likes young boys), for example… but everyone is loath to put that in print. I was sort of mystified — why not print it? The explanation seemed to be that it's not unusual over there and it deflects attention from whether or not he's actually doing anything about pulling that country together, which is deemed a more important issue.

Hmmm. I see.
Get crackin', you lazy writer reporter guys! I wonder if he's got an "aide" under that robe....

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My Sweet Jenny I'm Sinkin' Down

No posts Wednesday, as I'll be making my way to lovely Youngstown, Ohio for Passover with my wife's family.

Which means probably light-to-non-existent posts Thursday and Friday.

That's right: Passover in Y-Town. If I'm good this year they won't make me be the rebellious child. Chag Sameach.

Touche Touchet

Drudge starts the spinning over Tom Touchet's departure from "Today," relaying a "top source's" claim that "Tom's firing had nothing to do with the ratings or tightening numbers" and trashing Katie Couric and Jeff Zucker.

Matt: You know how when they say it's not about the money, then it's about the money? Replace "money" with "ratings."

Nazi Pope

Ratzinger/Benedict was a Nazi--that's him on the right in 1943 as a "German military anti-aircraft unit helper," as the Chicago Tribune puts it.

I could give a shit who the Pope is. I subscribe--sorry Dad--to George Carlin's theory of religion as a belief in an invisible man who controls our lives.

That having been said: Shouldn't there be some kind of rule where if you're a Nazi, you don't get to be Pope? I understand that Ratzinger was young and he was conscripted. But you know, life's not fair, and we know it wasn't your fault, but there's just this little rule we have about God's sole representative on Earth not also having been a Nazi. It's just this thing--sorry. Born outside the U.S.? Can't be president, even if you're a fantastic guy or gal. Sorry. Did a stint in Hitler Youth? Sorry, can't be Pope. I know, I know--but Cardinal's not so bad, right Ratzinger?

More seriously: The fact that Ratzinger was young and conscripted carries no weight whatsoever. One of the glorious things we heard incessantly about Pope John Paul during his interminable deathwatch was his heroism and struggle having lived under the heel of Nazis in Poland. It was heroic for a young man to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland with his moral life intact, because collaboration was safer and easier. Otherwise there's nothing heroic about it. If you fete John Paul for his survival of Nazism, you are lauding him in part for his moral courage to reject Nazism and violence in the face of a profound temptation to take the path of least resistance, and his willingness to accept the consequences of refusing to participate in Nazism for the simple fact that participating in Nazism is wrong.

You can't then turn around and apologize for Ratzinger--who is now God's chosen one--for failing to have that moral courage, even as a 14-year-old, because, well, it was hard and everybody was doing it. It's a simple choice--do I participate in evil or do I face the consequences of rejecting it? If the choice is be a Nazi or go to a labor camp, or be a Nazi or die, I'd like to think I'd have the courage to choose death. I'd certainly hope that the man elected as a moral leader for a billion people would have had that courage. He did not.

As a footnote--given the tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars that the networks spent on this pope-fest, don't you think one of them could have figured this out before a British paper published it over the weekend? I mean, he's long been a contender for Pope, he's a German of a certain age--Where was he during World War II? is a pretty natural question.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tom Touchet Is Out at Today

That rare and special creature that has for the past two-and-a-half-years enchanted network news afficianados--the morning show executive producer whose last name rhymes with the morning show that he executive produces--is sadly moving along.

Tom Touchet, the executive producer of NBC's "Today," is getting canned, according to a well-placed source. Or being politely encouraged to embark on a new career as Jeff Zucker's poolboy. Can't remember which. An announcement is imminent.

It's no surprise--"Good Morning America" is nipping at "Today's" heels, which is not what you want happening when your show is the highest-grossing television program in the business. Today brings in more than a half a billion dollars a year for NBC, and TV group chief Zucker--who once had Touchet's (soon to be former) job, has long watched in horror as his once-dominant baby slowly succumbed to competition from Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson.

The replacement is said to be a "left-field candidate," which insiders have taken to mean "cross network strategy" guru Jeff Gaspin, who has no news background--scratch that, he used to run NBC's reality shows, so that counts as news, right?--or "Access Hollywood" executive producer Rob Silverstein. Or Holly Hunter, who, though she's a dark-horse candidate, has been given the edge by some observers since she once actually pretended to give a shit about news for a living.

UPDATE: I stand corrected--Jeff Gaspin does have some actual, non-reality-TV-related news experience working under Michael "The Match" Gartner. Also he developed "I Witness Video," which aside from just really being great television, advanced the cause of witty and subtle puns in TV shows by years--it's "I witness," but it's also "eyewitness," get it? Smart move to keep that one on your bio, Jeff.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Tom Snyder Gets Some Things Off His Chest

Tom Snyder has leukemia, but to read his blog post about it--Tom Snyder has a blog!--he's not too worried and expects that it will be treatable.

I really really like Tom Snyder a lot, and have always been a fan of his utterly sincere, guileless brand of broadcasting. I really hope he's going to be OK, and it saddens me to hear that he's not entirely well.

That having been said--Tom Snyder has a blog! And, in the same post wherein he announces the leukemia diagnosis--with the digital analogue of that goofy, lovable, lopsided grin of his--he proceeds to drop some mind-blowing, rapid-fire, Larry King-style science on your sorry ass. And it is beautiful:

Some quick thoughts. Despite what George W. says, the Social Security system is not in trouble and does not need fixing and the people are onto him. Tom Delay is a jerk. Hilary Clinton is already running for the Presidency for 2008. The Red Sox-Yankee rivalry is on the verge of getting out of hand. There was more fan interference at Fenway last night that nearly wound up in a brawl or a riot. Early morning network television is not news anymore--its a joke. I miss Dan Rather. And Tom Brokaw. And I pray in my own stupid way for Peter Jennings to get well soon. David Letterman's son is a very cute kid. But I'd like Dave to introduce us to his Mom. "Saturday Night Live" is not funny. HBO exists because people must have a place to say "fuck" on television as many times as they can. GM and Ford have lost the way when it comes to designing and building sexy cars that make us wanna buy them. There is no Iraqi oil money to pay for reconstruction. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice don't have a clue as to what is going on there. The worst Italian reastaurant in New York (if there is such a thing) is better than the best Italian restaurant in most other American cities. Books by celebrities about themselves bore me to tears. Its time for Emeril to pack it in. And Dr. Joyce Brothers. And Maury. And Regis. And Paul Harvey. Donald Trump spends a lot of time telling people how to get rich. But I haven't heard him mention how helpful it is to have a father who kicks in 45 million as seed money!
I acknowledge that there is a very real possibility that this is an elaborate hoax. But since Matt Drudge linked to it, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I Guess I Should Be Thankful They've Stopped Blowing Up Pick-Up Trucks

Whenever network news divisions concoct preposterous non-news stories that just happen to advance the publicity interests of their entertainment divisions--the interviews with "Survivor" castaways on Friday morning's "Early Show" on CBS being the most obvious, if not the most egregious, example--the news and entertainment executives responsible always lamely claim the existence of a firewall between their respective domains, and insist that if the news folks decide to cover a network show, well, it's just because it's that darn newsworthy.

My favorite example was when I was out in Los Angeles at press tour--a twice-yearly press junket where the networks promote their shows to a sun-and-wine-addled corps of critics and reporters--a few years ago listening to then-NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker admit at a press conference that NBC's summer "American Idol" knock-off "Fame" had failed to connect with viewers or become much of a phenomenon. So I asked him why, if the show was a bomb and had no buzz, had I that very morning watched Matt Lauer interview the winner on "Today"? Shouldn't your producers have better cultural news judgment, Jeff, than to flack for shows nobody cares about? He just gave me a mean look and pleaded ignorance: "Ask 'Today.' I don't get involved with the news side.'" Of course not.

But just this once, I can with utter confidence report the obvious: Tonight's edition of "Dateline," which just happens to be devoted to "The Da Vinci Code"--a two-year-old book--and just happens to be the lead-in to the premiere of "Revelations," a shitty Christian-apocolyptic themed short-run series, was indeed directly and unequivocally dialed up by NBC Entertainment, according to a "Dateline" producer I spoke to. There's no separation-of-powers fig leaf, no "Oh, we've been meaning to do something on 'The Da Vinci Code' for two years now, and it seemed like the perfect time." It was: NBC Entertainment wanted a Christianity-themed "news" lead-in. So they called "Dateline" and said, "Hi, you're coming up with an hour of Christian goodness for Wednesday April 13 at 8 p.m. Enjoy." NBC is promoting the two shows as a pair.

Meanwhile, I'm told by another source that "Dateline" executive producer David Corvo recently declined to pick up an hour-long documentary from photojournalist Molly Bingham, who spent four months filming with anti-American insurgents in and around Baghdad. "Really interesting footage," I'm told Corvo said. "Not something my audience wants to see."

What hacks.

TPM is Back from His Timeout

Congratulations to Josh Marshall, who for four consecutive days has managed to write almost exclusively about the excreble Tom DeLay as opposed to really really complicated and super-boring algebraic discourses on Social Security. So I've decided to remove--as a probationary measure--the "Please stop writing about math" sticker from his blogroll entry. You may now visit his site.

Arch-Nemesis No. 1 Is Out the Door

I have absolutely no idea why Steve Shadley, the news anchor for Chicago's WBEZ, "is out after six years at the public radio station," as Robert Feder reported today in the Sun-Times (low in his column). But I can hardly contain my joy that I shall never again hear his mewling, limp, teeth-gratingly annoying voice on the radio.

Steve Shadley has been my nemesis, the embodiment of all that I loathe about Chicago. Every time I heard his voice interrupt a perfectly good "All Things Considered" broadcast, it heralded five agonizing minutes of utterly boring and uncompelling reportage from WBEZ's local radio geniuses about lost cats in the suburbs or some goddamned tree virus that threatens Lincoln Park's greenery. And then when he'd come back to update listeners on the actual NPR news that was coming up, the guy would try to take credit for it: "Coming up, we'll tell you about John Bolton's rough and tumble confirmation hearing today." No you won't Steve. National Public Radio, and their talented, bright anchors and correspondents in Washingon will tell me about Bolton's confirmation. You, Steve Shadley, will sit in a booth in Navy Pier and introduce the 27 traffic reports WBEZ broadcasts every half-hour. Good riddance.

We can only pray that Mike Miner is next.

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, a Blogger?

I feared that the moment for this post had passed, but Jay Rosen at PressThink has freshened up the story for me. Rosen, in another post about all these goddamn blogging panels, quotes a sharp and charmingly reckless young writer by the name of Jesse Oxfeld, whose account of a Reuters-sponsored blogging panel in Editor and Publisher last week stressed the following points: a) Please Stop Talking, b) Can't We Talk About Something Else Already?, c) People Talk Too Much About Blogs, and d) I've Met David Brooks, Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, Margaret Carlson, Ana Marie Cox, Walter Isaacson, Mickey Kaus, Joe Trippi, and Sir Harry Evans.

To wit:
"So I realized I couldn't wait for the Reuters panel to end simply because it's wearying listening to pretty much the same people saying pretty much the same things: Blogs are great. They're changing media. They're taking the corporate media to account. They're self-regulating. There's no barrier to entry." [Emphasis in original.]

All absolutely correct points, expertly argued with just the right touch of condescension. And Oxfeld's complaint--when are we going to have panels on how or whether blogs can or do make money?--is well taken.

But little do most readers realize they are taking those points from--a BLOGGER! That's right, the coy young Oxfeld is a the proprietor of an "anonymous" blog of his own. So all that talk of monetizing bloggery takes on a more sinister cast now, doesn't it? What, were you trolling for potential advertisers, Mr. Oxfeld? Trying to figure out how to line your pockets while mocking honest, hard-working bloggers who simply want to make the world a better, louder place?

This is yet another example of the MSM blindly attacking the blogosphere while one of their own tries to hop on the blog money train. Good thing this blog exists to fearlessly hold to account this pretend non-blogger who actually does blog so that blogging citizens can be better informed about.... Oh I just don't know anymore.

UPDATE: The villain responds--and he's after my wife! Also: I promise never to publish a picture from my wedding again.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Death of Roots Rock

I now know why I've always hated The Gourds: Because I somehow knew in advance that one day George W. Bush would listen to their warmed-over "Americana" pablum while trying to remember how to ride a bicycle. I wonder if he's heard their "bluegrass" interpretation of Snoop Dogg's "Gin Juice"--you know Jenna and Barbara have, cause it rocks, y'all!

The publication of the contents of the presidential iPod will serve as a convenient point by which to mark the end of roots rock, or as Rolling Stone's Joe Levy describes it to Elizabeth Bumiller, "modern artists who sound like great artists from the '60s and '70s." If Bush is power-cycling to Alejandro Escovedo, for Christ's sake, it's all over. You just know he'll ask Mark McKinnon for some more stuff, and McKinnon will burn him an old Rank and File record, and Bush will love it, and then McKinnon will throw some Jason and the Scorchers his way, along with Whiskeytown's "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight," cause it's got that Escovedo cameo, which Bush will of course love, and the next thing you know he'll be writing "No Depression" all over his presidential briefing books and cutting himself quietly in the bathroom while playing Ryan Adams' "Come Pick Me Up" over and over and over again.

And of course you just know we'll have to deal with him acting like he's the first person in the world to listen to Big Star: "My buddy Mark gave me this rare recording of this obscure guy Alex Chilton, you should really check it out." What an asshole.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

You, Me and David Down by the Discount Bin

How odd. David Byrne recounts a recent dream about dancing on the streets of New York City with the late Sen. Paul Simon and his enormous goiter. Who knew Illinois politics and iodine deficiency weighed so heavily on his mind?


Paul Simon and I are walking outdoors. In a city — New York, maybe. He has a weird bandage around his head, covering one side of his jaw, like those old cartoons of people with a toothache. When we near groups of people approaching he pulls up his shirt and covers his entire head — only one eye peeking out.

I ask him to “come up with something” and he somehow strikes up a percussive groove (on what? Not on guitar. Somehow the sound I hear is like congas, but there are none visible.) I catch the groove and begin to dance a weird step (surprise!) bouncing on alternating feet from side to side. Eventually I get the hang of it and we proceed down the sidewalk, me slightly in front, doing my boppy dance.

Paul compliments me on my dancing and I return the compliment: “well, that was a great groove.” Whereupon Paul relaxes and removes some of his head wrap to reveal a horrible elephant-man-like growth around his lower jaw and neck. It’s huge and fleshy, pendulous, pink. He tells me “it’s a goiter” — which may be true but I’ve never seen one like this. His voice is surprisingly normal sounding, which is incredible too, given all that stuff hanging off his jaw and throat.

Oh wait. I see. Totally different Paul Simon, which explains all the grooving, I guess. Please be more clear next time, David.

I swear this is real--scroll down a bit to find it. Byrne doesn't offer permalinks. And despite the irresistable dig in the headline, I feel compelled to say I am a fan of both his blog and his Internet radio station, which has provided me with much happy background noise as I stare indifferently at my laptop and write, delete, write, delete, write, delete, write, delete. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Feds Got to Google

If you were hoping to use Google Maps' new satellite imaging feature to see if George W. Bush really has been writing large messages to God on the roof of the White House, you're shit out of luck. As you can see from the image below (here's the link), the satellite close-up shot of the White House roof has clearly been scrubbed to an even, neutral brown by The Man. And note the bad Photoshop job covering the roofs of the adjacent buildings to the left and right (executive office buildings, maybe?), and the digital blur over each courtyard--are there nipples in there or something?

As others have suggested, they're probably just super-worried about security and stuff like that, what with all those people who want to kill our government. But it looks like Rummy's balls are so huge that he doesn't care if Osama knows what's on his roof:

UPDATE: There are nipples in there! Why else would they blur the whole Capitol Building? You know what it looks like when viewed from above, don't you?

Distressingly Earnest Post in Defense of Tom DeLay

While today's Washington Post catches Tom DeLay in some apparently fishy stuff--trips to Russia paid for by foreign lobbyists--the New York Times off-leads with DeLay hiring his relatives:
WASHINGTON, April 5 - The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.
They were paid by DeLay's campaign and by his political action committee, ARMPAC. They weren't hired as House staff, and they got no taxpayer money.

Is there anything wrong with that?

Tom DeLay is a malevolent reptile, but he's allowed to spend his campaign and PAC money on whomever he wants (within the law, naturally). If you are stupid enough to give money to DeLay, you may want to take a look at where it's going, though chances are you're already too stupid to care.

But is it illegal? No. The Times trots out the usual outraged suspects: "Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, said that 'questions are raised anytime a politician puts close family members on the payroll.'"

Indeed, questions ought to be raised any time a politician puts family members on any taxpayer funded payroll. That's public money, hiring decisions ought to be based on merit, etc. But if it is a misuse of funds to hire your wife and daughter out of PAC and campaign funds--which is not necessarily the case here, as DeLay aides describe his wife as a key strategist and his daughter as a professional event planner who has "managed a number of her father's re-election campaigns"--at least the harm is limited to people foolish enough to trust DeLay with their money.

But if it's not illegal, is it even wrong? The story cites a few other politicians, including Barbara Boxer, who've hired relatives out of campaign funds. Assuming DeLay's wife and daughter actually did work for the campaign--and the Times presents no evidence that they didn't--I don't see how compensating them for it is even remotely fishy. The big number in the subhed--"Over $500,000 since 2001"--isn't even that extravagant. It works out to about $62,000 a year each. If that's larded on top of other income, then perhaps the payments are, as the Times claims, "unusually generous." But aside from mentioning that DeLay's daughter runs a political consulting firm, there's no indication of how much if any income these women get from other sources. It could be that DeLay is his daughter's only client. If so, it's unclear how $62,000 per annum is unusually generous.

Call me when DeLay wants his brother to be Attorney General or something.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Al Gore to Launch Smut Network

Al Gore has clearly cast his lot with those who oppose FCC regulation of cable. The announcement of his new TV venture with Joel Hyatt--Current, formerly known as INdTV, which Double-Super-Platinum-Neon-Tier digital cable subscribers everywhere will soon be able to watch on channel 2,347-D--includes a plug for "Google Current," a TV version of the robot-driven Google News service:
"Google Current," built using samplings of popular Google search data, including from Google Zeitgeist, complements the free-flowing pod format with news updates each half-hour. Thirty seconds to three minutes in length, these segments buck conventional news practices by reporting not on what media editors decide is "news," but on the topics people are actually searching for right now. So news isn't what the network thinks you should know, but what the world is searching to learn.
Bold move--pepper your faux-hipster home-video network with half-hour updates on pornography.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Does Anyone Else Find it Weird...

That the pope's name is Carol?

Physician, Heal Thyself

Poor Howard Kurtz feels like a pinball:
The cable-driven news culture has long careened from one obsession to the next, but never with such breakneck speed. I feel like I've been bounced around like a pinball in a machine. The Martha-out-of-jail fixation, the Jacko/young boys/porn trial, the Robert Blake how'd-he-get-off verdict, the Ashley Smith angel-redeems-murder-suspect saga, the Jessica Lunsford suspect arrested. And then in just the last day, Terri Schiavo dies, the pope falls gravely ill and, in my little world, Ted Koppel quits. (More on that below.)

So loud was the beating of the cable drums that the release of a commission report on the Bush administration's "dead wrong" intelligence in Iraq was reduced to a mere blip against the sad but inevitable death of Schiavo, which continued with emotional intensity -- especially in front of the cameras -- even after the passing of the woman that this was supposedly all about. "Rest in peace" was not in the media's lexicon, not with the politicians still fighting and the relatives still feuding and too many still trying to milk partisan or ideological advantage from the tragedy.
I have a suggestion, Howard: Stop pumping quarters into the goddamn pinball machine. No wait--I mean, stop letting the pinball machine pump quarters into you.

On no less than 14 of those mad and maddening March days, you and your finely preserved vintage 1978 hairdo were blathering away to Judy Woodruff, Wolf Blitzer, and--I love this--"Showbiz Tonight's" David Haffenreffer on Schiavo and other important stories of vital interest to the Republic. That's more than just your sleepy little Sunday show, "Reliable Sources," mind you--you are on call for CNN to fill air when they need you, just like any other TV hack.

Television journalists can complain about the state of TV news--what else can they do? They're TV journalists, you have to make a living, you try your best not to be an asshole. Likewise, newspaper reporters can complain about newspapers--but what else can they do?

You, Howard, are a newspaper reporter who muscled his way onto television. You don't get to bitch about the sorry state of TV news when you've tried so hard over the years to be a part of it. If you don't like it, stop cashing your CNN paychecks. Spare us the sanctimony.

Also, please stop pretending to cover the people who pay you.