Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Abramoff Hits Keep on Coming


Today, I thought I'd direct you to one of the most important sources on all things Abramoff. It's Josh Marshall's The Daily Muck which would have come in hand when Deborah Howell and the Washington Post were trying to compile their facts on just which political party was being "delivered" Jack Abramoff cash. If you see any other stories about who got what from Jack, let us know and we'll make sure Ms. Howell is aware.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Details Matter - Facts Matter

UPDATE: Another Republican in Abramoff's Web

"The Post stands by its reporting that Jack Abramoff directed campaign money to some Democrats." post.blog

As you know, last week, just above the “new horoscope announcement” on post.blog, we got the above non-denial denial on Deborah Howell’s bungling on the Abramoff Republican money train.

Again, we’re not saying that Democrats didn’t received lobbying money, which is legally protected by the Constitution.

What Deborah Howell asserted, and has been parroted by other parties, which we actively dispute, is that Jack Abramoff "directed” that money and the inference that Democratic senators secretly aided Mr. Abramoff by using his or her office to benefit contributors through actions.

What Ms. Howell did by saying Democrats took money too, without offering specific facts on the money received, was link Democratic senators into the Republican K-Street political juggernaut and the pay to play pay off scheme put together by the Republican-led Congress.

Perhaps Ms. Howell and "the editors" should read her paper’s own reporting before standing by Ms. Howell's comments.

"Scanlon is cooperating with investigators, but so far there is no indication that he has implicated any Democrats."
Washington Post

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Flogging the Blogs

UPDATE: Is the Post's Howard Kurtz Still a "Reliable Source"?

"Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience. ... ...

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."
Blogs Attack From Left as Democrats Reach for Center

This article by the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei has set off fire breathing posts around the blogosphere, with good reason. Kevin asked for a new thread to discuss it. You have to wonder if Mr. VandeHei is flogging the blogs because we busted one of the bosses, Deborah Howell, on shoddy reporting, which wasn't her job anyway. Or is it something deeper? Some think so, which you can find here, here, here and here. Let's hear what you think about the stink. An open thread awaits...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Democrats Didn't Know Jack

Well, so we now hear via Jane Hamsher that Deborah Howell has awakened, only to reach out to the ones who approve of her idea of an ombudsman. In the email Howell sent out to her peeps, she now says she stands by her rendition of Jack Abramoff delivering money to both political parties. Well, maybe she should trot on over to read Jane's post or if she needs more evidence of her errors, walk on over here (or here) to get the facts.

You guys know what to do now. Tell Ms. Howell how it really is. Your open thread awaits...

Girls, Got Spine?

UPDATE I: BLOGS vs. MSM: Howell's Moving Castle
UPDATE II: A Dissenting Opinion

It’s a generalization, of course, to say that the Web or the blogosphere is dominated by men and their voices, and there are certainly examples of women weighing in on the most contentious issues of the day, on both the left and the right. But in light of the remarks aimed at Howell which caused the Washingtonpost.com to close down its comments section, we can at least ask these questions. Is there a gender gap on the Web? Are women subjected to different kinds of personal attacks and criticism than men? Would the Post’s Web site have felt the need to close its comments if a male were under attack? Or is this entire premise just a false attempt at describing some kind of non-existent glass ceiling on the Web? Just asking. A Web Without Women?

Deborah Howell is giving the rest of us a bad name. It's so infuriating that she went into hiding. Those meanies "personally attacked" her, so she hid behind the mighty masthead.

Ms. Howell vented quite a bit about how she'd been in the business for a long time and was tough, but that the comments on her blog were just too much to take. This is emblematic of what's happened to journalism. It's what happens when a big institution decides to back their people even when they are wrong.

Oprah got into real trouble when the masses reared up. Even the major media went after her. But at least Oprah finally came clean. Her personal epiphany came about because she actually read the irate emails, read the comment section on her site, seeing that her loyal readers were furious at what she'd done. Then she reevaluated her position and did the right thing.

Even when Jane participated in the WashPost live chat, Deborah Howell was nowhere to be seen and we still don't know why.

Women on the web need to be thick skinned.

I've been attacked for years, with hate mail that would set your hair on fire, some of which I can't post. Yes, some things aren't for public consumption. But the answer isn't to shut down comments and slink away. Message to Ms. Howell, girl, get a spine.

Now it's your turn. Open thread, you know what to do...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

We Say We Want a Revolution

UPDATE: Post Panel Review (via)

The Left's Revolution Against the Media

"I think this post, written by Salon's Peter Daou, captures the essence of a movement that is sweeping the liberal side of the blogosphere. In the past few weeks, liberal blogs have organized campaigns against Chris Matthews, Tim Russert and the the Washington Post (two former staffers for Democratic politicians and a left-of-center newspaper). These left-wingers are trying to do to the mainstream media what they have been trying to do to the Democratic Party: Push it left. ..."

Wha? But wait a minute, I thought the “mainstream media” was the left wing media. Danger - Danger, the National Review is off message, red alert -- red alert. And somebody needs to get a memo to O’Reilly quick. He’s going to be off his talking points, too.

The "left" isn't trying to push the mainstream media anywhere.

It’s about truth and transparency, for the Washington Post, just like it’s about lying and the law for all things Abramoff. In Deborah Howell's telling of this tale, both things converged to a bad end, in columns that made the simple confusing.

But at least we have their attention, my friends. Too bad they just don’t get it.

So, Paul Reveres of the 21st century, explain it to them. An open thread awaits…

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Washington Post Chat Reaction

UPDATE I: Jane Hamsher on Post Event


UPDATE III: "Ethics and Interactivity" at the Post

The transcript is up, so if you didn't see it live, read it. There is one question in particular that still rings out in the ether...

Jim Brady: Deborah has chosen for the time being not to any live discussions, but we've talked about it, and you'll see her on here at some point.

Jeff Jarvis: I'll push the transparency button: Why not? I worked with Deborah (at my last job). She is, indeed, tough. So I don't believe she fears this; I wouldn't make that simplistic assumption. So I have to believe she has a reason she believes is good for avoiding live interaction. What is it?

We still don't know the answer to that one. The silence says so much.

Now, it's your turn... a wide open thread awaits. update... Here’s where anyone can write to Jim Brady.

WashingtonPost "Moderated" Live Event

UPDATE: Via jukeboxgrad @ DailyKos, there is a comment section back up at the WashPost. However, they seem to be deleting large numbers of them as they sift through what is posted. Check it out.

It was just one week ago that the WashingtonPost.com turned off comments on post.blog. No doubt, it’s been a week that paper will never forget.

It all started with Deborah Howell’s “Getting the Story on Jack Abramoff.” As the Post has been describing what happened next, Ms. Howell received “comments containing personal attacks, profanity and hate speech.” The step they took in response is what inspired this blog. They turned their comment sections off.

Today, the WashingtonPost.com will have a live event to talk about how comments should have been handled and could be handled in the future, if and when the Post decides to bring that function back online. They've entitled the event: "Panel: Ethics and Interactivity."

The event will be "moderated," with readers asked to send in questions before it begins, which started yesterday.

JANE HAMSHER will be participating in the Post event, which begins at 10:00 a.m./Pacific, but she'll be at a different location. Comments received on firedoglake will be not be subject to a moderator. It will be free speech in action.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006



... for more see The Washington Post

UPDATE I: O'Reilly compares our criticism of Post to a fatwa. You can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE II: Bill O'Reilly, the video.

UPDATE III: Live blogging event tomorrow with The Washington Post and Jane Hamsher. Don't forget it.

Atrios picked up on what I just posted this morning. It used to be all conservative all the time striking out and getting uppity, but "Now that our side is engaging in some of the same tactics everyone is suddenly getting the vapors."

There are a lot of delicate flowers who inhabit this world.

It's open thread time, baby. Let 'em hear you.

We're Watching

The New York Times had a story yesterday that is getting a lot play for a good reason. It illustrates that there is an Internet history, albeit short, of reader reaction when the press fails to do its job. But one particular point is worth drawing out further.

“The blowback is hardly without precedent, but it is worth noting that much of it came from the left. Flaming and invective know no ideology, but there is a tendency toward seeing a growing conspiracy behind every ill-chosen word - something once thought to be the province mainly of conservatives.”
Soothe the Blog, Reap the Whirlwind" - by David Carr

Conservatives no longer stand alone and we're now asking everyone, regardless of your politics, to join in. Perhaps the complaints we raise even apply closer to home. What is your local newspaper doing with the news of the day?

Of course, some disagree with reader reactions, but that's what this is all about. So be it.

"Redshift" made a comment, stating that the Internet is not a free speech zone because of regulation, but then went on to agree that “ideally” this was the intent. Within a comment section, this most certainly should be the standard. Of course, we don't expect anyone to condone violent speech, that isn't what we are saying.

You can shut someone up by shuttering the functions that allow us to speak. But that doesn't make it right, nor guarantee we won't rise up.

We're watching, reading, and this is the place where we will let you know how we feel. After all, we were given no choice, because we had nowhere else to go.

Monday, January 23, 2006

It is not partisan - It is AMERICAN

There is nothing more American than free speech.

James Madison introduced his version of what free speech was to be, including what it was to mean to the press, to the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789.

"The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable."


We have no grudge against Ms. Howell personally, despite her inability to see our righteous outrage for her own ego.

When the citizenry have been assaulted time and again, when it becomes too much, we lash out. Ms. Howell felt "drawn and quartered at high noon in the public square," but what she failed to see was this wasn't even about her. That she didn't understand is why we fight.

This is about America. The type of country we intend to fight for it to be.

We welcome all people, of whatever political persuasion and none.

But we will not abide untruths, no matter how unintended. We will not stand silent when the powerful won't claim error. We will speak out and be heard, because that is our right as Americans, it is our duty as citizens.

With Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin whispering in our ears, we take on this charge. In the 21st century, we are the Paul Reveres who will see it preserved.

God bless this great nation and the citizenry who fights to make it so.

Ombudsman Central

"Simple obscenity is not the same as invective and invective is not the same as sexist personal attacks. But, of course, since we haven't really seen the offending emails/comments/whatever we still don't know exactly what got their knickers in a twist."
- Atrios

An Open Letter to the Washington Post

Since the Washington Post won't reliably keep their blog comments open, we have created this web site for individuals to comment on the work of the Post.