Sunday, February 19, 2006

Deborah Does Cable

MODERATOR'S NOTE: Thanks to all the people commenting here. I just learned that the Post even nuked my own comments, which only invited people over to this Open Letter, where free speech reigns. See for yourself in the comment section below. It's outrageous.

"Please post some evidence for the assertion that Jack Abramoff directed donations to Democrats." - K. Ron Silkwood
Well isn't this interesting. At least for this Sunday, Ms. Howell has moved on to cable TV, taking issue with Dana Milbank wearing an orange hunting jacket on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown." But is this Ms. Howell's province as the Washington Post ombudsman?

The re-opened comment section is bristling with spectacular efforts from stellar readers trying to elicit some sort, any sort, of response to the plea at the top of this post. Oh, and by the way, "S.t.e.n.o. S.u.e." has a filter on it. So the crafty minds holding the Post to account have developed ways around the free speech police: "S>T>E>N>O S>U>E s/t/e/n/o s/u/e S*T*E*N*O S*U*E," TeddySanFran, wrote.

Meanwhile, all of us are still waiting a response from Howell and Brady, who remain mute, on just what the evidence is that Jack Abramoff "directed" money to Democrats. Did they think they could just reopen the comment section after weeks and life would just move on?

In the meantime, Howell will evidently be doing cable reviews. I can't wait until she weighs in on Jim VanderHei's next appearance.

UPDATE I: Dana's Woodshed Assignment
UPDATE II: Dana Explains


Blogger TeddySanFran said...

Hi Taylor --

Thanks for the hollah -- it was really fun getting past the steno filter, and I see that others are doing so as well!

I hope you've read Dana Milbank's column in Sunday's WaPo, because it's clear now what a "trip to the woodshed" means: the editors made him write something sweepingly damaging about the Democrats to blame for the party's impending loss in 2006.

<<< ! >>>

12:57 AM  
Blogger Taylor Marsh said...

You betcha, baby. As a matter of fact, I was about to post a link to it as an "update," just so it stood out really well.

1:05 AM  
Blogger thedeanpeople said...

Thought we might use this space as a Island Of Misfit Posts from the WashedupPostdotcom blog.

This one was removed within minutes. As was the one it predictively references.


space - I did enjoy, and do agree with. your 1:12 post (I'll miss it.)

And since we're asking questions (i.e., pissin' in the wind) I'll wonder aloud about my dearly departed earlier post which only used the verboten moniker to reference its status as that-which-will-not-be-heard.

Also, could we get some rulings from the chair please? -- Rummy? Brownie? Clarence "Uncle" Thomas? Bully Bill Rhenquist? Scalito? Wolf Blitzer? (uh, no sorry his name really is that of a mutant xmas reindeer) Hey, what about Xmas? Was Chirst was a public figure or is the jury still out?

And how about Euphemedia? Or DC/Euphemedia Analstocracy? Are group labels "kosher" (or is that word anti-semetic-ish?)

I really think we need you to compile and publish an Enenmy Words List.

Sally Quinn could include it in a Style Guide on the Style Page. It would at least be a place to start in obtaining compliance from all internet users. (Or is Sally still running and screaming through the streets of Georgetown, wearing nothing but a gas mask, clutching a can a blackmarket Cipro in one hand and a bottle of Perrier in the other?)


11:31 AM  
Blogger TeddySanFran said...

Thanks for the Sally Quinn visual.... ugh.

I bet the WaPooblog was on "auto-filter" last night and, when the assigned intern arrived at work early Sunday am, phoned the head honchos to find out how to handle all the creative new hate speech. Mine is gone, as are many others much better than mine, yet the Post seems to completely miss the irony of today's article about "sensitive words" in China.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

The following fourteen comments were deleted today between 12:00am and 1:30pm. I've only been paying half-a** attention, so I'm sure I don't have all the deleted ones. They follow:

Still no answers regarding the claims made by the so-called reader's representative ?

Why do you even have comments if you don't give a flying *&^*&^ ?

Since you don't answer question 1, I shouldn't wait to see if you answer question 2.

Posted by: ch2 | February 19, 2006 12:10 AM

The Wapo's problem is that Howell and Woodward have sold their souls, Woodward for access and Howell for, for ... Man, that's what I can't figure. Selling your soul for pride seems like a bad deal to me.

No matter what they say at this point, it's too late for them. In the soul business, all sales are final. The only way to keep this lack of credibility from (continuing to) infect the paper is to dismiss them. So, here is your conundrum, Mr. Brady: what is the integrity of the Washington Post worth? Is it beyond price or is it just one more item on the books?

Posted by: Argonaut | February 19, 2006 01:24 AM

Tough criticism is welcome; personal attacks on writers or other readers are not.

It is my understanding that some blog comments were removed for referring to Sue Schmidt by a certain nickname. Is this correct? If not, I would appreciate a clarification by Mr. Brady. If it is correct, I would question Mr. Brady's understanding of the phrase "tough criticism."

The name was given to Sue Schmidt specifically in response to her professional conduct. Whether you believe the term is fairly applied to Schmidt, it doesn't qualify as a "personal attack."

Posted by: space | February 19, 2006 01:46 AM

Good lord, it is true. There is a filter on S.t.e.n.o. S.u.e.

This is the height of childishness. The term is in no way a "personal attack".

Ms. Schmidt has a professional reputation for mechanically repeating GOP talking points. If she (and her editors) have a problem with that assessment, wouldn't the mature and adult reaction be to EXPLAIN her decisions, rather than hide from their critics behind an automated filter?

Posted by: space | February 19, 2006 01:55 AM

Pride is a funny thing. Not as funny as shooting an old guy in the face, but amusing nonetheless.

Brady, wake up friend. You have no grounding in the workings of the online community. You missed the boat by about 10 years by my estimation. Not surprising really that you continue to make the case that you're a clueless azzhat wrt to internet issues. Azzhat is a technical term. Azzclown would be equally applicable in your case.

Just spell it out and tell the people the truth. Stop issuing spin with no context, analysis, or fact checking. Highly unprofessional.

And stop your whining. "I got mugged". You got a MILD response. Get a clue Brady.

Posted by: Alaskan_Pete | February 19, 2006 01:59 AM

Sten-o Sue Schimdt, transcriber at large.

Eff ju, eh buddy? Censor this you worthless clowns.

Posted by: Alaskan_Pete | February 19, 2006 02:04 AM

Why would you filter Steno_Sue ?

Yes, there are ways to bypass this silly, childish bullsh*t. Now let's stop playing games and you start answering the substantive questions from Paul L. and Brad DeLong.

Posted by: Alaskan_Pete | February 19, 2006 02:07 AM

Oh, this could be fun.


s/t/e/n/o s/u/e


Imagine, telling the tech guys what you want filtered: "all the dirty words, plus that nickname the dirty bloggers have for Sue Schmidt."

Posted by: TeddySanFran | February 19, 2006 02:12 AM

Just imagining the current WaPo mindset applied a few years ago . . .

"OK, so I misspoke a little when I said that Monica was also pleasuring Newt Gingrich. I should have said she directed some of her friends . . ."

Posted by: ben brun | February 19, 2006 02:35 AM

Howell does it again! Conservatives complain about Milbank, and she writes a column about it! She even tosses in a whole bunch of "nasty" things Milbank said about Republicans.

Why doesn't this woman deal with OUR complaints, eh? Is it because both she AND the Post only worry about upsetting Republicans? Why doesn't she comment on Jim Brady's numerous lies about the nature of the comments received at this blog?

Posted by: Semblance | February 19, 2006 02:45 AM

Filtering out Ms. Sue? If you're feeling a tad hemmed in, please feel free to visit:

I'm the moderator over there, so maybe you could also answer my post today: Why is Ms. Howell doing cable reviews instead of answering our questions?

Posted by: Taylor Marsh | February 19, 2006 03:27 AM

It's just a nickname.

Posted by: Poolboi Jim VandeHei | February 19, 2006 10:38 AM

The Respected and Beloved Leader, George W. Bush, deeply appreciates your great work. With the help of that astute and perceptive executive James Brady and the unflaggingly eagle-eyed Deborah Howell, journalism will continue to insure a continuous and unfettered flow of ideas in this land of the free and home of the brave !

Posted by: Winston Smith | February 19, 2006 10:59 AM

From Jane Hamsher on Firedoglake:

"Amidst all the articulate lefties like Roger Ailes, Brad DeLong, David E. (happy birthday) and Paul Lukasiak whose non-"hate speech" comments now fill the reopened WaPo blog questioning the Post's ethics in any number of matters, there is one commenter who takes Brady's side. He says 'let's hope the far left can contain themselves here' before going on to praise Richard Cohen's recent article dissuading girls from taking math. He even provides a helpful link to his blog, where we find the following:

'The column goes straight after the cult of numbers that rules so much of the thinking in the left-wing wonk and chattering classes crowd. These are the people who attack Bush because of the budget deficit (as if we didn't have one under Clinton) and question the numbers behind Social Security privatization. The people who think that their number-crunching ability gives them greater wisdom than the guidance the president gets from a Higher Power.'

{Question: Who might that "Higher Power" be? Dick Cheney? Karl Rove?]

"Congratulations, Jim. Now you know why the people you've courted into some unimaginably hideous three-way -- Hugh Hewitt and Instahack (we won't even mention the Power Tools for fear of inducing projectile vomiting) -- don't have comments sections. Because these are the kind of people who show up, and frankly, it's embarrassing.

"[Prohibited nickname] Sue should've been fired after her stint as Ken Starr leak ho. She wasn't. (Oh I'm sorry, she hates that name and makes you delete the comments that mention it -- I guess we shouldn't offend and say "Sue Schmidt.")

"Now she steals the work of a dead man she refuses to acknowledge and uses her position to [obscenity deleted] up any kind of decent reporting on the Abramoff scandal in favor of whoring for the GOP. These are the readers the Post is now courting. This is your fan base. These are the minds that read a Deborah Howell column and say "bravo!"

"These are your people now, Jim.

"Assume the position."

Posted by: Scooter Libby | February 19, 2006 01:28 PM

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Cujo359 said...

So, to review:

When Bob Woodward spends years implying he's not part of the Plame story while making pronouncements about how important it is, it's worth barely a mention in the WaPo, except an editorial that says it might not have been the best choice, and an almost offhanded comment from his editor saying he was somewhat displeased.

When Sue Schmidt acts as the conduit for character-defaming leaks and, later, apparently plagarizes the work of a dead New York Times reporter, it's not even worth a mention. When she later implies that Abramoff gave money to both political parties and this wasn't in the least bit true, the WaPo backs her.

When Dana Milbank wears a hunting outfit to poke fun at the Vice President for shooting a hunting companion and then not reporting it for almost a day, he deserves public humiliation.

I get it. Sure. Professional misconduct that ought to get you fired, OK. Poking fun at a public figure, not OK. Just the priorities I expect from a leading national newspaper.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Taylor Marsh said...

You people are awesome. What amazing tenacity and commitment to truth and transparency. I raise my glass of deep red wine to you all. (No firearms involved!)

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:27 PM  
Blogger TeddySanFran said...

omg the WaPooblog is just getting to funny, with faux koolaid drinkers and all....

10:59 PM  
Blogger Taylor Marsh said...

Our beef is with Deborah Howell's statement, which is false. Abramoff did not "direct" money to Democrats. Did tribes and gaming give money to Democrats? Lordy, I hope so and I hope they will again. Seriously, we've done this dance a thousand times. Lobbying is legal and so is accepting lobbying money. What isn't legal is Jack Abramoff's K-Street dance with George W. Bush and the Republican Party.

The best you can say is that one Democrat is involved. So, if that's your "bipartisan" involvement, SHAZAAM!, you've got us. The one Democrat involved is Rep. William Jefferson. But he's it.

If another Democrat surfaces, I will be more than happy to slap that person around. However, that won't make Ms. Howell's statement correct or her refusal to amend the record any less spineless. When she wrote her words, there was no proof that any Abramoff money had been "directed" to Democrats. To date, there still isn't, except for Jefferson's troubles, which are real, but quite different from the Republicans' Abramoff pay off scheme.

Smearing Harry Reid: Nice Try

Harry Reid was Right - In addition, the lobbyist says Reid's involvement was "incidental": "These contacts were incidental, insofar as I simply bumped into Reid staffers at Democratic Party functions or occurred incidental to discussions regarding my clients, not Abramoff's," Platt said. "Any contacts that I may have had in regard to Abramoff's tribal clients would have been similarly incidental."

Josh Marshall

Jack gave only to Democrats

Dems Didn't Know Jack

Again, lobbying is legal. What's not legal is the K-Street cha-cha-cha engaged in by Jack Abramoff, which involved the entire Republican machine, with the president meeting with Jack Abramoff several times, which we know for sure (there's art), though the White House is trying to avoid the issue entirely. However, it's the elephant in the room: Jack Abramoff was a Bush re-elect Pioneer.

I welcome others to please add links, etc. These people are just dense and evidentally need some help. Again, one more time, with feeling, lobbying is legal, unless you do it Jack's way, which became the Republican Party's way. Now it's your turn, so take it away...

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Just an update, Taylor:

There were at least 100 comments on the washpostblog that were deleted almost as fast as they were being posted late Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening. After I posted the 14 comments here earlier, I tried to keep up and save all the comments that I could later in the day to recreate them "for posterity" but I haven't had time to go back through and extract them. I think my point was made though. Except for the obvious comments ("Steno Sue" "Poolboi VandeHei") that were blocked by the new screening filters, a lot of comments passed scrutiny, only to be deleted manually by someone at the WaPo. That's the same thing that happened back in January, although Mr. Brady tried to claim that no one had archived the comments because they were deleted before anyone saw them. That was just an outright lie. True, they may have deleted some so quickly that no one saw them, but from what I've been able to determine, the "techies" at the WaPo were a bit too inept to do what Mr. Brady tried to claim they were actually doing.

I have to agree with TeddySanFran said earlier about the faux koolaid drinkers later in the evening, and it was great fun to participate. Praise the Lord!

aka Tim

9:55 AM  
Blogger Howling Latina said...

A cry in the wilderness.

I think all this hype about Howell only encourages her.

As for me, I will not post on her frigging blog, nor will I send an e-mail.

I think folks should just boycott her; and leave posting to the right-wing wackos, so if any sane person drops by. they and can see how one-sided her audience is.

In other words, stop feeding the beast!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Taylor Marsh said...

Thanks, Tim. You have to wonder why they even bothered doing comments. I posted to see what would happen. My comment was erased. That said it all. I also think you just might be predicting Howell's fate, h.l. Howell will end up with the audience she deserves.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Joel said...

Rage Against the Post parties! Second Tuesday of every month, starting Tuesday, March 14. On a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis we'll be having house parties to discuss and rail against the Post. City Guide: Why no attention to the Urban Scene? Why no coverage of DC's sizeable gay community, unless they're in drag? The Ombudsperson: What the heck is with her? The Why does the Post report when the editor is "mugged" online, but not when scores have been mugged on 14th street in the past two months?
I can't give out addresses on here, but ask around for a party near you. Bring friends and then sponsor the next one. Parties currently scheduled for March 14 in: Columbia Heights, Shaw/Howard area, Shaw/Logan area, and Woodly Park. Look for us and you will find us. (No cameras -- some whisteblower Post reporters will be there in cognito.)

5:57 PM  
Blogger TeddySanFran said...


Currently (02/22/06 at 9:47pmPST) these comments are contiguous on the WaPooblog:

Posted by: DubyaIsGod | February 22, 2006 10:41 AM

Posted by: Don Adams | February 22, 2006 08:17 PM

Have folks just stopped commenting, or are the censors removing huge chunks of the comments?

ah, interactivity's a bitch....

9:53 PM  
Blogger Taylor Marsh said...

As far as I can tell, it's become one long echo chamber.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous cujo359 said...

Taylor writes: As far as I can tell, it's become one long echo chamber.

HELLO... Hello....hello....

Yep. Pretty dead over there. They are still removing comments they find irrelevant or offensive (the 99 beers one and the one that just said "penis,vagina" endlessly, for instance).

There are still enough substantive comments in that section to keep an ombudsman busy for days, if not weeks. Not so much as an acknowledgement that the message has been received from Jim and Debbie, though. I'm guessing they're just leaving us an electronic blank wall to spray paint, and if it gets to offensive they just paint it over again.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Cujo359 said...

Poster Alan H. Liskov posted this at the WaPo blog today:

To Mr. Adams or any other interested party. I suggest an ongoing count of how many days have gone by that the Washington Post has had an incorrect statement in an article posted without a correction, or solid evidence to prove the statement. That falsehood is as big a stain on the Washington Post's credibility as the stain on the blue dress was to Bill Clinton's legacy. A running count of the days (we're up to 30 something right) should at least add to the level of humiliation the Washington Post should be feeling. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock....

To which I replied:

I did a Google search to find the original story written by Debbie Howell. The byline says Jan. 15, 2006. Counting today as Feb. 24, that's 40 days.

Wow, an anniversery! Forty days, and more to grow on, I suspect.

So, happy freakin' anniversary, everyone.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Don Adams said...

I think Jim Brady is going a little crazy with his deleting pen! I think they are getting a lot more responces than they are letting on! Oh well, as ole Harry once said, " If you can't stand the heat, get the hell outta the kitchen"! Truer words were never spoken! Jim Brady and Deborah Howell should get out of the newspaper business! Let 'em go to fox news and spread their lies! I'm sure fox would welcome them with open arms! They are such good liars, don't you know! Somebody needs to tell 'em,"the devil's gonna getcha if you don't stop lyin'"!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Well now, this is informative:

Does the website have an official ombudsman?

I sent an email to Ms. Howell in which I included the contents of an email I sent to Mr. Brady and she replied with:

"I can only send to Brady and hope he will reply. I'm not the official ombudsman for the website. Deborah"

Posted by: Philip | February 26, 2006 06:55 PM

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Don Adams said...

Lets see now, I think I just about have this thing figured out!! There's not a thing wrong with Brady and Howell that a brain transplant wouldn't cure!! Any village idiot volunteer would do! It would probally bring their IQ up five or six points!! Cool!! That means their IQ would be six or seven!! Fantastic!! The Wash. Post may even give them a raise! I hear george bush did this a few years ago and he came all the way up to a seven!! Wow!! Anybody know any village idiot volunteers?

7:35 PM  
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