137 thoughts on “Denny and Tom and Tim: How They Get Away With It.

  1. Juan VanSandt says:

    While some of the media bashing here may be valid, I think a more fair analysis may be that in penny-pinching modern-day newsrooms there simply isn’t sufficient staff to research difficult stories.

    Nobody has the extra people power to sort through Pawlenty’s unallotments to figure out if those deferrments can ever be repaid (they can’t), if Petters and Hecker made risky and untimately criminal business decisions because living rich wasn’t as satisfying as living very rich (they did).

    News management and sales staff may consider the value of upsetting potential advertisers — I don’t think reporters have the time to think that deeply.

    1. In my experience too many veteran reporters know where the company line is drawn. They may argue for a story, but beyond a certain point the passion they bring to those demands becomes counter-productive.

  2. Newt says:

    Please don’t complain that property taxes under Pawlenty (which is a lie; substitute “Pawlenty” for “local government officials”) went up 69%, then argue that he needs to raise taxes.

    You’re getting the taxation you crave, it’s just coming from local officials. This should make you liberals happy.

    P.S. If Rybak chooses to spend $3 million to relocate the decrepit Shubert Theatre 4 blocks, but can’t pay for Minneapolis cops, why should taxpayers in Roseau, Pipestone and Winona be made to pay through LGA?

    1. Sara Barrow says:

      That is a ridiculous statement. The funds the City used to moved the Schubert had nothing to do with funds used to cut the police force. And why should people in Roseau or Winona care about cops in Minneapolis? Because Minneapolis represents 1/3 of the economy of this state. If crime goes up in Minneapolis and the police are not equipped to address it, then businesses and tourists may find another state to settle/visit. When those total revenues go down, the whole state suffers. It isn’t necessarily about raising taxes, its about honesty. Pawlenty can go around the country claiming he governed for eight years without raising taxes, which is patently false. He has forced local governments to make the painful decisions he has not been brave enough to make himself.

      1. Newt, if “ridiculous” is the operative word, arguing that local governments jacking up property taxes and/or cutting essential services has nothing to do with Pawlenty’s total intransigence on a real-world mix of cuts and increases is, well … what you said.

    2. Juan VanSandt says:

      Was Rybak even mayor when that move happened? I don’t think so.

      The system the state had to fund LGA was called the Minnesota Miracle — a compromise so well crafted that it made national news and survived for decades. It helped this state escape the problems of urban blight that have left many metropolitan areas permanently damaged (see Detroit). It’s been copied across the nation, and it started here.

      So what’s the motivation for dismantling the most-successful bipartisan effort in the state’s history? My humble guess was that Pawlenty bet the farm that he could get short-term political gain by pitting the wealthier outer suburbs against the poor inner city and first-ring suburbs. Of course, those second and third ring suburbs are going to need help eventually — but T-Paw will be long gone.

      As for paying for cops, it’s quanit but retarded to think that crime respects city boundries. But go ahead, take the NIMBY approach to taxes for police — what are the odds that gangs and drugs and other crime problems will spread to the suburbs. Sure it has happened EVERYWHERE ELSE that the inner city has been foresaken for the comfot of the gentry — but this is Minnesota, so it won’t happen here.

  3. Joe Loveland says:

    With Governor Pawlenty making modern day “Minnesota Miracle” claims on the national campaign trail (“I held the line on taxes and took a nine iron to government spending, and we did great!”), you would think local political reporters would enjoy probing that claim, and enjoy the national limelight that would come from the work. Did the Governor hold the line on taxes and spending (mostly did), and did we prosper (mostly didn’t)? National voters looking at this guy from afar deserve more than just horse race and process coverage, but they’re not getting it.

    My assumption from afar has been that MN political reporters aren’t motivated to probe the Governor’s record because they’d like the Minnesota Miracle claim to take root so he could become nationally viable, and therefore become an exciting story for them.

    Brian, I’m not sure I understand your thoughts about why Pawlenty isn’t being probed. Chilled by management-driven move to the right, false equivalence culture, newsroom malaise, newsroom work ethic, or all?

    1. Most of the above … but the one that I find perhaps most intriguing is the preferred belief that Pawlenty, like W. Bush and the current national Republicans are nothing out of the ordinary, and therefore there’s no reason to apply any new, different or special effort to testing their claims.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        It’s a really good point, Brian. Cynical reporters do a lot of “of course conservatives cut, that’s not news” poo-pooing, without noting the very real qualitative difference between an Arne Carlson/Elmer Anderson-type balanced approach to deficit reduction and a Tea-Paw type slash and burn approach (i.e. most aggressive use of unallotment in state history). There is a difference between the conservative approach of Minnesota’s past and the CONSERVATIVE approach of this era.

        A lot of reporters think it is worldly to cling to “of course, conservatives cut,” “of course politicians tend to their own ambitions” and “of course, buisinesspeople are out to make money,” conventional wisdom. But by clinging to the conventional wisdom, they don’t see, or report on, the very real qualitative differences.

  4. Newt says:

    Liberals find themselves in another awkward position – simultaneously demanding tax increases while complaining about them.

    But it doesn’t end there.

    Anderson-Kielbassa and Pogemiller spent an hour on MPR yesterday averring that Pawlenty has NOT cut spending. Which is it?

    And it’s laughable to assert the Minnesota “Miracle,” if even true, was catalyzed by government. When that TIME article ran in 1972, state government was the state’s 5th largest employer. Now 3M could only dream of a global payroll half as large.

    The DFL has a huge problem – getting the public to believe that the State of Minnesota on a $30 billion budget is starving. No rational person could conclude this.

  5. 108 says:

    ““over-paid” teachers work late shifts at McDonalds.”

    Tell us about this teacher working the late shift at McDonalds. Who is it? What’s their age and tenure?

    1. 108 … by the way is that a “Lost”-related moniker? You’re especially literal-minded today. Would “teachers working second jobs” suit you better?

      1. 108 says:

        No, for me it’s a baseball reference.

        Boolean rather than literal. It’s either true or it isn’t.

        It suits me fine. Who are they? How long have they been teaching? What do they earn teaching?

        Is their secondary employment a function of them being underpaid in comparison to their non-teaching peers? Is their secondary employment a summer job? How long have teachers been doing that?

        Is teacher pay a conservative complaint?

  6. Brian – with the local media, it’s a lot of “can’t see the forest for the trees.” It seems like just about everyday the Strib reports on some or other Minnesota fail – air quality, hospitals, charter schools, road quality, etc. But they NEVER put it all together – what has happened to the state in the eight years of Pawlentyism? Have we advanced or retreated?

    The state has been increasingly hollowed out by the intentional mismanagement of the Republicans, but you’ll never hear that from local media. It’s like one of those eggs where someone slipped in a straw and sucked out all the goodness – we still see the shell, but underneath the value is increasingly gone.

    1. Again, in my conversations with (over-)worked government reporters, I never get any recognition that Pawlenty is a different type of creature than any garden variety Republican before him. There’s safety in ignoring what seems obvious to me … and Pawlenty’s supporters at CPAC. (Though he finished dead last.)

    2. Ellen Mrja says:

      I read a convincing argument today that said the best journalist working is Jon Stewart. Why? Because he calls out liars as liars and marshals the evidence to prove it.

      Part of what you (and I) would like to see, then, is a freeing up of reporters from the outdated myth of “objectivity.”

      However, calling it as it really is would tick off an awful lot of advertisers. (It’s all about advertisers.) And publishers need advertisers.

      Publishers also need to trim newsroom costs (to make happy the corporate owners of the newsroom.) And so, journalists are laid off. This, then, reinforces what is said (above) about the remaining reporters being told, “I don’t need it good. I need it by 2.” Quality goes by the wayside when column inches written are the measure of record.

      I don’t know. I’m just frustrated. This blog has blamed journalists for everything from the 2008 financial meltdown to failing to report the racism in New Orleans post-Katrina to allowing Pawlenty to debauch Minnesota (in a non-sexual way, of course.)

      I hope to hell we never lose our free press – despite each and every one of its faults – because with friends like these, who needs enemies?

  7. Dennis Lang says:

    The Hecker story? Maybe at first a titilating soap opera. Now, just an escalating–by the day it seems–human tragedy. A horror story. What he must be experiencing psychologically is beyond imagination. Depressing from all points of view.

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t aware of the step-father business when I posted this. But there are other well-established reputations hanging on the edges of the abyss besides Denny’s.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    Whew. Was that a rant or a tirade?

    There is a lot in there with which I can disagree, but then I’d have to know where to begin.

    I’m sorry but journalism has never been very good at “breaking” much that is outside the bounds of the herd of Groupthink Central.

    Where are these brave, well trained, Clark Kents of truth, justice and the American Way?

    In truth, journalism is the ultimate, backward looking enterprise that can tell you everything that has happened but struggles to tell you anything about what is likely to happen (journalism is like looking at Morningstar ratings and data for mutual funds — comprehensive and impressive — if you are looking at what happened in the past).

    Rarely do we find journalism swimming upstream. However, it is good at imitating. You know the old cliche that an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of keyboards would eventually reproduce all the articles found in the New York Times (actually it was the works of Shakespeare but I digress).

    Are you serious? They should have uncovered Hecker or Petters or Enron or WorldComm?

    Financial analysts and investors far more sophisticated in finance couldn’t figure it out but some guy or gal with a four year degree and lots of writing classes should?

    Now that’s funny. I don’t care who you are.

    Sorry Brian but your comment about investors knowing about Petters and Hecker but overlooking it to keep it going is completely misinformed.

    I personally know some of the people who got taken in the Petters scam. Despite my warnings about diversifying, they paid no heed. They are hard working, charitable, gentle souls who got conned, letting themselves disengage from the old “if it’s too good………”

    Read the book about Bernie Madoff “Too Good To Be True.” It will give you some insight as to what happened in the Petters case — and probably with the Hecker fiasco, as well, and how people who trust the wrong person can end up getting taken.

    Stories are constantly written about this scheme or that scheme and it seems to keep happening. Charles Ponzi screwed people nearly 100 year ago.

    Yet government regulators still list “Ponzi Scheme” as being among the top 10 investment scams year after year.

    You are dealing with human nature and behavior — not one of journalism.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Todays journalist: …”some guy or gal with a four year degree and lots of writing classes.” Heck, didn’t know that was all it took.

    2. My point is that there are plenty of stories the average reporter handles quite well. Natural disasters, accidents, most crimes of passion, and “basic news” is fine for the headline stuff of bureaucracies. But in the case of Petters and Hecker — and the pathology they share with Tim Pawlenty — reporters, editors and their in-the-know sources — talk one game (skeptical) but play a different, more “mediated” game. Believe me, there were plenty of reporters who thought those guys stunk for one reason or another, ditto with Pawlenty’s extremism. But getting to go-ahead to spend the time (and annoy certain influential constituencies) is a whole different matter than covering a warehouse fire.

    3. Dennis McGrath says:

      Mike: If your analysis is accurate, then journalists are nothing but “ink stained wretches” just putting in their time from deadline to deadline. I disagree, though today, their ranks have thinned so much it’s hard for them to juggle the work of three or four former colleagues. One of the problems you don’t touch on is how much time and homework journalists are willing to put in. Dick Gibson, who was the Star biz editor and former WSJ bureau chief here used to bring home armloads of 10-Ks and pore through them. No wonder he had so many big time scoops. From years of doing IR, I can also tell you that a lot of security analysts have been some of the biggest cheerleaders on a stock and lazier researchers than reporters. I think Brian’s piece is right on but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect journalists and know their limitations today. Tom Petters? I saw him at some function years ago when he was just a junk dealer and watched his minions toady up to him and thought: “This guy’s a fraud.” And that didn’t take any massive research. Are you old enough to remember Flight Transportation — an empty shell that bamboozled the financial community? Fortunately, the media helped to scuttle that fraud. Here are some stories that should have gotten told and did not: Cowles Media could have easily bought McClatchy if they’d have run a better ship and been proactive. Honeywell and Allied Signal? Same deal. HON could have snapped up Allied. Why did Gelco Corp buy a container company for $1 billion at floating rate debt just before rates hit 20%, ensuring it would become a takeover candidate.
      And the examples of good probing stories like that that never got covered go on and on. If that recent Strib story about what health reform is gonna do to medical device companies turns out to be true, our economic base is going to be big box retailers and foodstuff processors/marketers.Finally, how come nobody ever did the pervasively circulated stories about the peccadilos of some of our big time politicos here — long before there was a John Edwards or Mark Sanford?

      1. Mike Kennedy says:


        Didn’t see this until the other day. Good questions. Why weren’t some of those stories covered?

        I’m not saying there aren’t really good, highly intelligent, pit bulls in financial journalism — only that they are the rare exception to the rule — Dick Gibson included.

        In George Leonard’s excellent book “Mastery,” the first key to mastery of anything is instruction and training.

        Yes, Leonard says, there are those who have taught themselves (Edison and Buckminster Fuller) “but the self taught person is on a chancy path,” he writes.

        I know this firsthand from taking flight training the past three months. All my self study could probably provide me with enough ability to take off and land my plane with no injury to me (that doesn’t mean the plane would be without injury).

        However, the young lady with 2,000 plus flying hours instructing me is teaching me to be safe, smooth, proficient and thorough.

        All things being equal, more training is far better whether it is plumbers, journalists, pilots, doctors, financial advisors or anything else. That’s my only point.

  9. Mike Kennedy says:

    It is all it takes. It’s all it took for me to write for the largest paper in the country and to work for the largest newspaper company in the country at the time.

    My point (though I admit it was a bit sarcastic) is that it takes a whole hell of a lot of training in other fields in order to really know what the hell you are writing about.

    Sure, there are a few journalists who came through business schools and have MBAs or are trained in other areas, but a vast majority that I knew and worked with came from J school.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      I understand that highly specialized fields may require a specific expertise but I wonder if the accomplished journalist doesn’t have a unique skill somehow cultivated, for investigation, comprehension and reporting across a range of subjects. Did Richard Rhodes have to a be physicist to write about the atomic bomb or Halberstam an auto industry insider to write “Reckoning”? Lacking preconceptions may be a virtue.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:


        I think you are right — but those kinds of people are in short supply. “Reckoning” was certainly an outstanding book, but the average reporter is, well, average, not a Halberstam.

    2. By definition “veteran” beat reporters — business-watchers with years and decades of experience and sources, may not know any more about credit default swaps than Alan Greenspan (which is to say nothing at all), but if they’re talking to the people on their beat at all they’re hearing all sorts of stuff that it is their job to filter and push on.

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Fascinating Brian. I don’t have the slightest idea how the profession works but you’re saying the journalists had enough evidence to investigate Hecker and Petters and were shut down by superiors–cowardly publishers– in pursuing the stories? That in itself is a cool story. Do you think any of those reporters, many likely with jobs lost in the staff reductions, would tell how they were silenced?

  10. Mike Kennedy says:

    Oh, I’m sure they must miss me, considering there were hundreds if not thousands more like me (think the phrase “dime a dozen”).

    Perhaps if most of us had really seen the value of studying a topic area in addition to journalism, we would have been more valuable and could have better served our readers.

    I’m sorry if it offends some, but journalism, like Wall Street, the insurance industry, the car business and others has its share of problems and shortcomings. It’s not the save the world profession that I once thought when I was young………..but then again, what is?

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Mike, industry expertise can easily be acquired by ”some guy or gal with a four year degree and lots of writing classes.”

      Just as many of the best business people build expertise through street experience rather than MBAs, a reporter with an analytical mind who spends all day every day asking endless impertinent questions of hundreds of experts in and around the industry can easily learn more about the industry than most of the insular “experts” being interviewed. When I’m preparing experts for media interviews, I find that reporters often know more about the subject at hand than the “expert” being interviewed, or at least have a more well-rounded perspective about the subject matter.

      I’m not convinced that “only people with MBA’s can truly know business,” “only MDs truly know the medical industry,” and “only JDs truly know legal issues.” In my experience, that’s too simplistic. I have a master’s in public policy and most of the world knows more about public policy than I do. I’m a big believer in education, but lots of people become experts of a different sort with a phone glued to their ear. A journalism degree is not a guarantee of expertise, but it definitely can be a stepping stone to bona fide expertise.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:


        I don’t think that only people with MBAs can know business, either, but you aren’t going to get some run of the mill veteran business reporter who is equipped to take apart Enron’s balance sheet and piece together compex financial machinations that most MBAs or CFAs don’t understand. I think to expect journalists to break something that most of the industry can’t see is not realistic.

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        Mike, my belief is that will is a bigger barrier than way.

        When you look at the line-up of stories done by Frontline, NYT and regional newspapers winning investigative reporting awards, you’ll see a lot of stories probing into very complex issues, including business issues. And the stories are often done by people who didn’t study the vocation they’re covering. It’s easier to probe with government than business, because sunshine laws make information more public on issues involving government But there are a lot of great exposes of businesses done as well, and they’re usually done by non-MBAs.

  11. Ellen Mrja says:

    I didn’t read this post for the longest time (sorry, Brian) because from its title I thought it was about three morning shock jocks or something. But know that I have read it —

    From Rebecca Otto’s Feb. 17 commentary in the Strib:

    “Under Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s leadership over the last seven years, Minnesotans have experienced a fundamental shift in taxes. The governor drew a line in the sand early on in his first term with his no-new-tax pledge. But the pledge has not cured our fiscal problems; it has simply shifted the state’s fiscal mess onto local property taxes.

    The governor has not held the line on taxes; he’s redistributed them. With the state facing a $1.2 billion deficit this session, this shift deserves a serious policy discussion at the State Capitol.”

    Pawlenty is a dissembler of the highest order. To argue that he has performed miracles with Minnesota’s economy is an hallucination.

    But how do you explain to Tea Baggers (Taxed Enough Already) and NCPACers that only the top income-earners in Minnesota have come out ahead during Pawlenty’s tenure? The working and middle-class have gone into the hole. And they’re still smilin’ about it all.

    Brian and Mike, I don’t know why you and others expect the press (a bunch of kids who take writing classes) to be able to expose corruption at the highest levels of corporate and governmental thievery when even brilliant money-managers can’t do so. The press can’t do it, you say. But you want them to do it? Which way do you want it?

    Why don’t you do it? For example, Mike, you’ve been trained and worked as a news writer. You’re a researcher and thinker. Plus, you have the financial background and training 99% of journalists don’t have.

    So, instead of standing by the sideline and – once again – blaming the entire fall of Western civilization on the MSM (as you have called them in the past), why not contribute to a blog or start a blog using YOUR knowledge to keep an eye on the thieves, liars and whores?

    A proud professor of people who are still idealistic enough to believe that what they do for a living might just matter someday

    1. Ellen: Just so my two basic points aren’t submerged — I believe Petters, Hecker and Pawlenty share a certain basic pathology — the kind that willingly sacrifices many others foir the good of the one (themselves) — and that modern newsroom are even less well equipped than before to press for full information on major advertisers/well-connected “benefactors and politicians believed, by editors and publishers to carry extraordinary weight.

  12. Mike Kennedy says:


    You make very valid points. My point was that I don’t expect them to have the expertise to root out the liars and thieves. I wish they did have that training and that they could do that. It would save us all a lot of heartache.

    Don’t get me wrong. I still believe that there is that potential, but I don’t think it is soley up to journalists. I’m doing my part by trying to do the very best I can for those who choose to have me represent them.

    I have to walk a very fine line about what I say. It has to be very general as to not run afoul of investment regulations (lest it have to be compliance approved and get lost in the maze of lawerly language and editing and sanitizing).

    I find I can do more good face to face, one on one, helping one person or family at a time.

    I agree with Brian about the pathology of the Petters and Heckers of the world — though I’m not ready to equate Gov. Pawlenty with them.

  13. Mike Kennedy says:

    I got to go with 108 on the teacher gig.

    Average teacher in salary alone makes somewhere around $50k to $60k, depending on the state, hardly a get rich type of profession. But keep in mind that is for about 9 months work when factoring in those who don’t work summers and the holidays.

    And that doesn’t include benefits, of which there is a pretty nice pension.

  14. Ellen Mrja says:

    Brian: Gotcha. And Mike, I came down hard on you when I was just generally frustrated by The State of Things. (See my commentary to Rob and Brian, above.) Truth is, I’m very proud of all you have accomplished.

    But here I am (not to sound like a “woe-is-me” dirge) trying to teach journalism to young idealists while the industry is shifting underneath them and all the other reporters I know, and universities are closing down and/or consolidating journalism departments.

    Just where in the heck does everyone think the next batch of those-who-at-least-try is going to come from? (Many things wrong with that sentence.) I try to keep students fired up not as an illusion but because I honestly think journalism matters.

    I dunno’. Maybe we’re not arguing at all. Maybe I just need to unplug for a while.

    P.S. Not to make anyone here groan with envy, but my students are on spring break this week. Remember THOSE good ol’ days?

  15. Mike Kennedy says:


    I really admire what you have done and continue to do. I do think journalism can matter a great deal. It just needs to be ready to things differently and compete with different mediums. And I do think specialized knowledge is going to be necessary.

    Ernest R. Sotomayor, ass. dean, career services, at the Journalism School, Columbia University, says that although newspapers and magazines are the foremost employers of the class of 2008, there has been a profound shift.

    He is quoted in the book “Googled” by Ken Auletta as saying that many students clamor to take online media courses, to learn to shoot and edit video, create audio content, flash graphics and packages. And virtually all of those who went to work for publications are now working on their online versions.

    The ground is shifting, no doubt.

    1. Ellen Mrja says:

      Thanks, Mike. I’ve been challenged and thrilled to learn and now teach this next batch how to do exactly what you and Auletta are describing.

      For three years now, my students have been writing online (beginning with creating their own blogs and reading and commenting on others’), have shot and edited video, and created slide galleries with audio. I don’t do Flash as it’s a Web design (and I also find it overdone to the point of irritation as opposed to awe. Also, 30% of your readers get this when they click on your Flash button: “This package requires you to have Micromedia Flash…”

      This year, I taught a new course in strategic communications research where the students learned the importance of SEO and how to change their writing to optimize those principles, how to analyze metrics, the fallacies of which metrics matter, how to engage in social media and measure success of engagement, ROI, online branding, how companies use social media campaigns to become their own PR agencies, and etc.! It has been fantastic. Lots of work but I’ve loved it.

      Face it, I’m a sucker for teaching. And if I didn’t do this, I’d probably be one of those reporters. And I’d be proud to be one.

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Ellen–It sounds like the journalism curriculum is undergoing a significant (and I suspect necessary) transformation. Have you ever felt conflicted over this? That is, that you’re now teaching more technology and less journalism.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:


        It sounds as if you have more than kept up with the times in what you are teaching and that you are as prepared, thorough and every bit the quality teacher I remember. Your students are lucky.

  16. Mike Kennedy says:

    Also, I just came back from Fort Lauderdale after four days of company meetings (quit rolling your eyes) We actually had meetings until 1 p.m. each day.

    I never missed a spring break in six years (one year in high school and five in college), and Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach were our destinations.

    These days, we have dinner, drinks after at receptions in the hotel and many of us older folks are sleeping by midnight, though several of us ventured out one night and stumbled into a “college” bar.

    Needless to say, it wasn’t the same feeling as walking into a similar place 30 years ago when I felt I actually belonged there.

  17. stpaulboy says:


    You catch Rachel Maddow this evening (3/8)? She’s calling out the dissemblers and the out and out liars, the astro turfers, the lobbyists masquerading as populists pertaining to the alleged national “debate” on health care reform. She’s doing as you prescribe.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      I’m aware that a national debate that would challenge any liberal orthodoxy would be anathema to the left. So I’m sure Maddow is/will be a hero to those on that side of the ball field.

      The questions is will anyone actually be watching?

      And did anyone actually watch former Gov. Ventura on the Today Show?

      No wonder Minnesota gets national scorn and ridicule for many of its political decisions.

      With his ever expanding pate (something must be in there), his white socks, jeans and sneakers, he looks like some out of work huckster who sees a conspiracy behind every corner. Oh wait. He is an out of work huckster.

      Putting bufoons like this on national TV does nothing to further the increasingly dim and shoddy view of the mainstream media.

      We can debate issues like health care spending, taxes etc. and reasonable people can disagree.

      Blaming a president and administration for being complicit in the 9/11 attacks is so over the top that this particular derangement syndrome belongs in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

      Way back when I worked on the psychiatric ward of the Rochester State Hospital, we had a medical term for people like Ventura. We referred to them as “patients.”

  18. Mike Kennedy says:

    It’s because I don’t believe he lied. How can you possibly know he lied?

    Where is the proof? You sound like Jess The Bod. All are part of the Bush Derangement Syndrome. Liberals complain and cry that the far right hated Clinton with a certain pathology, and they were right. But then Willie did them a favor and hung himself on his own words while under oath — not to bright for a guy I thought did a pretty good job as president. Now liberals in their hatred and zeal to get back, do the same thing they cry about.

    Did Bush get bad intelligence? I don’t think there’s much doubt about that. I think it’s clear that many in the administration have said they wouldn’t have gone to war if they knew there were no WMD.

    Was Bush so smart he pawned intelligence he knew was false off on the UN, our allies in Europe and a majority of Congress and fooled them all?

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      For those still interested in the WMD’s that were never found, and how film makers might pursue the story, check out Charlie Rose’s great interview with Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass discussing their new movie “Green Zone” (Monday, 3/8).

      1. The length of time it takes popular culture to catch up with events is ever shortening, eh? Big Love on HBO has already integrated an obvious Jack Abramoff storyline. Can’t wait to see the movie.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        Yeah, Rob is right. The length of popular culture catching up to events is shortening compared to the old days.

        It took 40 years for Hollywood to make a movie about the scandal of a Kennedy being involved in the death of a woman by drowning in a car.

        Oh wait. That one still hasn’t been made yet.

  19. Bush set up the Office of Special Plans in the White House to concoct “evidence” of Saddam’s WMD, contact with al-Qaeda, etc. It was baloney and they knew it. On 9/11 Bush practically demanded to Richard Clarke that he find some way to connect Saddam to the attacks. Read Scott McClellan’s book.

    Remember the Downing Street Memo? “The facts are being fixed around the policy” – written a year before the invasion of Iraq. Dick Cheney said there was “no doubt” that Saddam was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program. They said Saddam was developing unmanned airplanes that turned out to be balsam wood models!

    Any cogent person can see that we attacked Iraq not because it was a threat, but precisely because it was NOT a threat, i.e. it would present an easy military victory, at low cost, that would show the rest of the world how tough Dubya was.

  20. Mike Kennedy says:

    Rob, where is the special prosectutor? Where was the impeachment process? Where are the hordes lining up to launch a criminal investigation? You seem to have enough time to write on numerous blogs, even quoting me on your own liberal blog. Why don’t you get to work on this? Where is old Richard Clarke these days?

    You honestly believe dopes like McClellan who couldn’t string two sentences together when he was press secretary and was roundly ridiculed by the left — oh wait, until he became critical of his bosses so he could sell books. Presto, like a magic trick, he is now a hero of the left. Go figure.

    As you for you, stpaulboy, come talk to me when you get the stones to reveal who you are. If you want to call me out on anything, go ahead. Step forward. Nah, it’s easier to take shots from the security of cover.

    You can see why I got out of journalism? Where you ever in it? I chose to leave journalism on my terms, not getting canned or downsized. I consider it the best decision I ever made — well certainly in the top two or three. You, on the other hand, sound a bit bitter, dear boy.

  21. rob levine says:

    So – Mike – by your logic you must believe OJ is innocent, right? He wasn’t convicted of murder.

    BTW – Why would I care what Democrats think? I’m not one, and I don’t endorse them.

  22. Mike Kennedy says:

    My logic? At least O.J. was tried. If you are so sure. Why hasn’t W even been brought up on charges?

    You don’t care what Democrats think and you aren’t one? Now that’s a laugher. Nice try. I’ve never heard you criticize one of them.

    Me thinks you aren’t a Democrat when it suits you. Obviously when pointed out what hypocrites they were on the Iraq War, suddenly, you’re not one them. Curiously, you seem to be one of the first to rush to their defense when someone bashes them.

    Fair enough. You don’t care what they think. Do you stand ready to call all of those quoted on WMD liars?

    I didn’t think so.

    Who is really using bogus logic here?

  23. rob levine says:

    Here’s some criticism of Dems: Obama is an idiot when it comes to education policy. Here’s another: I condemn any Democrat who authorized war on Iraq, or who lied about it like Bush.

  24. rob levine says:

    BTW – There’s lots more where that came from. I also voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. So – I don’t know where you get your info from, Mike – but I’m not a Dem, and I don’t particularly like them.

  25. rob levine says:

    I also oppose the bank bailout, the extension of the Iraq war, the refusal to prosecute the war criminals of the Bush administration, the continuation of the faith based fraud, etc. See – me no likey Dems!

    1. PM says:

      Why did you oppose the bank bailout? Do you think things would have been better if there had been widespread banking failures in our economy?

      1. BTW – if you look at banking sector profits – they have rebounded almost to pre-recession levels. However, the unemployment rate (the REAL one, U6) hovers over 17 percent – higher than some times during the great depression.

        So I don’t really know what the bank bailouts have accomplished, other than restoring the criminals to profitability.

      2. PM says:

        If you do not think that saving the economic system from collapse is something good, then you are a fool.

        I do not think that there is anything wrong with profitable banks–nor do I necessarily think that they are criminals (or at least, nor more or less so than any other sector of the economy).

      3. Better for whom? At what cost? What are the costs imposed on the future? It is not a stupid question nor statement.

        It is not “objectively true” that things are better from the bank bailout. Yes, the drop in employment has slowed, but not turned around, and won’t anytime soon. Obviously part of the bailout plan is to re-inflate the banking and housing bubbles, rather than to shrink the banking sector back to historic levels, or accept that real estate values have been grossly over inflated. So the jury is out on the bank bailouts. So far it has helped the bankers, but not too many other people.

      4. //f you do not think that saving the economic system from collapse is something good, then you are a fool.

        Did they save our economic system from collapse, or did they threaten to collapse it? They certainly THREATENED collapse, and that was enough, apparently.

        And if we saved them with government money we should have demanded something in return, which we did not.

        The rule here is privatized profit and socialized losses. That is a recipe for plutocracy and disaster..

      5. PM says:

        Well, that is a hell of an assumption–that the crisis wasn’t real, that it was all comfortable stage managed by the banks to extort taxpayers money. Care to tell us more about this conspiracy theory of yours? Really, this sounds more like something I would hear from Glenn Beck.

        Of course there was a crisis, and without the bailout the economy would be hugely worse than it is now. Not only would employment be worse than now, but people’s retirement savings would be far lower than they are currently.

        Sure, it ould be nice to get more financial regulation to try to make certain that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again, but to suggest that because we didn’t get everything that we could have gotten or should have gotten, we then should have just stood aside and allowed everything to go to hell is an awfully smug and arrogant position.

        Do you really enjoy gambling with other peoples lives and livilihoods like this? You’d be willing to take the gamble and sacrifice their pensions, their futures, just to win a few political points?

        Need to break a few eggs to make an omelet?

      6. I never said the crisis wasn’t real – of course it was. I don’t know where you got that from. But – did their proposed bailout solution make sense? Did we have to do it their way? Would things really have escalated into Armageddon? Those are real questions. You act as if we had to do what we did, how we did it. I disagree.

      7. PM says:

        “I never said the crisis wasn’t real – of course it was. I don’t know where you got that from.”

        I got that from you–from this:

        “Did they save our economic system from collapse, or did they threaten to collapse it? They certainly THREATENED collapse, and that was enough, apparently.”

        Sounds to me like you are saying that there was only a threat to collapse, almost a form of extortion, in the crisis.

        Maybe you can explain your statement better.

        But you say that you opposed the bank bailout–yet admit it was a crisis. In a crisis, things need to be done, and there is not time to things to YOUR satisfaction. Besides, YOU are not the one doing them. it is fine to be a critic, and to try to fix things after the fact, but the crisis took place, and YOU were not in charge. Something had to be done, and the people in power (W) had to do it.

        Again, to oppose this bailout because it was less than perfect seems to me to be misguided. There was an emergency, things needed to be done to avert a huge crisis, the crisis was averted (not all of the damage was avoided, but much of the damage took place before the bailout was enacted, and it always takes time for implementation of any program).

        What is appropriate is to now work to create a meaningful regulatory system to try to prevent this situation from repeating itself.

        If you really care about the economy and all of the people dependent upon it, you would spend your time trying to make the future better (something that is within your power) as opposed to endlessly complaining about how the bailout efforts (in the past, and something over which you can have no influence) were less than perfect. Of course they were less than perfect! But that is no reason to oppose them, and things would be infinitely worse if we had not done them.

      8. PM says:

        I am not a fan of Naomi Klein. Generally, I think that conspiracy theory thinking gives too much credit to “opposing forces”, and tends to verge towards Manicheaeism.

        The world is not that simple.

  26. rob levine says:

    I also think Hillary Clinton is a fraud – she voted for the Iraq war and she knew what she was doing, unlike some others. Yet afterward she lied and said she wasn’t authorizing war.

    I condemn Obama’s secret deal with the drug companies, and the Senate Democrats’ health care bill that is a giveaway to the insurers.

    You still think I like and defend Dems?

      1. In the long run, worse. It give insurance companies more power and does nothing to reign in rate hikes. The problem with the insurance system IS the insurance companies. What value do they add to the system?

      2. PM says:

        They pool risk. That is the value that they add. Potentially, they could also be used to control costs–ever notice how, on the bill you get from the hospital, there is the amount that the hospital charges, and then the amount that is “allowed” by the insurance company? They are able to negotiate a lower price with the health care provider–something that an individual is incapable of doing.

        What i like about the Senate bill is that it is an example of the federal government regulating insurance companies. I think that there should be more of this. I am skeptical of the federal government being able to replace insurance companies–I think the government has a better track record of regulating than it does of actually running things, which is why I think that the Senate bill is in many ways preferable to the House bill.

      3. Here’s my main problem, and why I am for single payer. If you look at health care expenses accrued to human beings in the United States you find concentrated areas of spending depending on the age of the person, i.e. lots spent at birth, when giving birth, and when dying. Sometimes there are big expenditures in between, but the pattern generally holds.

        Therefore, the only way to spread the risk properly would be for one insurer to insure someone for their entire life. Private insurance won’t do that – and can’t. Instead, they “skim” off people in the areas of life where a lot of care isn’t expected, leaving only the very sick and poor for government care.

      4. PM says:

        And, of course, i think that the status quo is worse than both.

        Clearly, this is why the polling on support for health care is still below 50%–some on the “left” would prefer nothing to something. Sort of like voting for Ralph Nader, or holding your breathe until you turn blue to protest something. It may make you feel good, feel morally superior, etc., but you just look silly to everyone else, and may actually cause harm to the country (like being responsible for the W electoral college win because you made a protest vote for Nader in FL in 2000, which was ultimately the reason for the Iraq War).

        Good Work!

      5. Another problem, PM, is what happens when the drug and insurance companies’ profits swell from this legislation. They will turn around and lobby and advertise to further capitalize on their monopoly. With your strategy we may “win” the battle, but put ourselves on worse footing to win the war.

        At some point liberals need to stand and fight, instead of taking one step forward and two steps back.

      6. PM says:

        What you are pointing out as a problem in the health care area is called “adverse selection”, and you are correct that it is a problem. It can easily be solved through regulation of insurance–just as the Senate Bill addresses the issue of pre-existing conditions, a future bill could easily deal with how insurance pools are aggregated.

        What i do not understand is this all or nothing approach to health care reform. Face it, progress in the US political system is ALWAYS incremental. If you want to achieve progress, you need to embrace incremental progress, otherwise you will be beating your head against a wall for the rest of your life.

        The Senate bill IS progress. Embrace it, support it, and work for more.

      7. PM says:

        The reality of the situation is that there is no possible way that the House bill or a single payer system will become law any time soon. There are simply not the votes in the Senate to accomplish this.

        So what is a dedicated progressive like Rob to do?

        You basically have 2 choices–incrementalism (support the Senate version) or absolutism(insist on a single payer, and assume that no change is better than some change)

        But what would the failure to pass any health reform bill now really mean? Last time this happened the result was basically 10 years of more of exactly what you say you are opposed to–insurance companies getting richer, stronger, fatter, more lobbying, more living off of the blood of the people. And the general despondency caused among both liberals and progressives about the failure, leading to a total lack of any action and improvement in health care.

        Is that what you really want? You’d be prepared to sacrifice the wellbeing of huge numbers of people who hopefully would get insurance coverage for the first times in their lives just so you can make a political point?

        That would be very noble and principled of you.

      8. PM – you assume things WILL be better with the Senate bill. You don’t think the insurance companies aren’t already dreaming up ways to get around any regulation in the bill?

        Just because a bill is passed doesn’t mean people will get coverage. Is there regulation of deductibles? Many people will be able to “buy” insurance, or be penalized by the government for not buying it. But because of high deductibles they essentially will not get more care.

        I am not an absolutist as you say, I just think there is a very good chance that the Senate bill is worse than nothing.

      9. BTW – The House progressive caucus still hasn’t decided what to do about the Senate bill. Dennis Kucinich has said he wouldn’t vote for it. Are they all Utopians too?

      10. PM says:

        Kucinich has run for President how many times? And how many times has he and all that he stands for been rejected by the people?

        Face it, what he is promoting isn’t selling. That goes for the progressive caucus as well. Doesn’t matter what you like, or what I like. What matters is what is possible. And, for better or worse, the vision of the world that you and kucinich and the House progressive caucus support just isn’t very popular out there on the hustings.

        Personally, I’d like to see a single payer system. So, apparently, would the President. But it is not going to happen any time soon–maybe not even in my lifetime.
        Maybe not even in yours.

        So what are you going to do about it?

        If you want to spend the rest of your time tilting at windmills, have at it. And good luck to you.

        But please do not stand in the way of the rest of us trying to just make our lives a little bit better, those of us who would like the opportunity to get health insurance that is currently out of our reach because of a pre-existing condition or cost. I know that you aren’t getting everything that you want here, but a lot of people will get more than they have ever had before, so please do not stand in their way. Please take pity on them, and try to be part of the solution to their problems, not just another problem that they need to overcome.

      11. PM says:

        Just a bit more on Dennis Kucinich. he is probably the single most ineffective congressperson ever. What exactly has this guy ever accomplished? He has sponsored 97 bills over the years, and only 3 have become law, and not one of them has been significant (he renamed a post office, granted Casimir Pulaski posthumous citizenship, and got a film from the USIA donated to the Ukranian Museum). He has been a gadfly and a pest, and not for good, either. This is what you get when you are an ideologue over everything else, and this is why safe seats, whether Democrat or Republican, are a terrible idea. He is a liberal Ron Paul (another idiot).

        Finally, even some liberals are getting fed up with this seat warmer.

        read more here:


      12. PM says:

        And now this–83% of MoveOn.org members support passage of the Senate version of the health care reform bill by the House of Representatives. Now that might not be a ringing endorsement for everyone, but for so-called progressives who still say that they are opposed to the passage of this bill (and it becoming law), I think that it should at least cause you to look around at the company you are keeping…

      13. PM says:


        Now even Dennis Kucinich has seen the light, and decided that it is better to have half of a loaf than no loaf at all, and has decided to vote in favor of the Health Care bill. He has also stated his intention to continue to work for a single payer system in this country.

        I salute him for this reasoned, adult approach to this complex situation.

        So, Rob, are you now likely to alter your position and support passage of this bill, even though it isn’t exactly what you want? I mean, even Dennis Kucinich has finally come around……how about you?

      14. Of course I’m still against it – it’s a piece of shit bill that forces people to buy crappy insurance from privateers – and it won’t cut premiums – they will still increase every year, while handing hundreds of billions over to the insurers. This bill has the disadvantage of being both a policy and political loser.

      15. BTW – do you know how the government subsidies work? People will only be required to pay a certain percentage of their income for insurance. If the premium is more than that percentage the government picks up the difference. If insurers raise rates, the entire difference will be picked up by the government. There is no incentive to keep rates low and fair if the government always pays the difference. There is nothing in the bill to regulate premiums, either. What will the insurers and drug companies do with their new wealth? They will use it to further buy the government. When the Rethuglicans regain control of the government they will just repeal anything that might be good in the bill.

      16. PM says:

        So, because of your personal fears (paranoia?) of the insurance industry, you will condemn those people with pre-existing conditions to a life with no medical insurance?

        Yup, that is really progressive.

        I am certain that all of the millions of people who will benefit from this bill applaud your display of integrity.

      17. rob levine says:

        We’ll see PM. I actuallly hope I’m wrong – that millions more WILL get health care, that others will be able to keep their plans, that it won’t increase the power of drug and insurance companies, and that people will be able to pay their deductibles. Time will tell whether this legislation helped turn the tide on health care, or whether it was just another missed opportunity that placed more power in privateers and made the rest of us just that much more insecure.

      18. rob levine says:

        BTW – PM – I object to your saying “I am certain that all of the millions of people who will benefit from this bill applaud your display of integrity.” I care what happens to disenfranchised people. That was a cheap shot. You can say that my calculation is wrong, but it’s pretty low to suggest that I place my own integrity against the well being of the nation.

      19. PM says:

        Sorry you got your feelings hurt, but that is exactly what i think many people (and maybe even you) are doing–putting your personal beliefs ahead of the good of the country.

        Of course this bill is flawed. Of course it could be better. Of course there will be unintended consequences. But it will correct a number of problems, and it will make life better for a lot of people.

        It is the beginning of serious health care reform, and it is a vast improvement over doing nothing. To stop this bill will result in another 10 years of inaction, and i think that it is unconscionable to even consider that as being in the best interests of the country.

      20. rob levine says:

        My “feelings”have nothing to do with it. There is legitimate disagreement whether this bill is the right way to bring health care to all Americans, in the short run and in the long run. I don’t think your personalization of the issue sheds any light on those real differences.

      21. rob levine says:

        BTW – you cite my “paranoia” about health insurance companies. That might be your most absurd comment yet. Don’t you read the news? It is filled with the abhorrent behavior of insurance companies.

  27. rob levine says:

    Sorry to post so many comments. One more thing about this attack on me by Mike that somehow I’m a hypocrite – not to be believed – because I am a Democrat, and he hasn’t heard me criticize Democrats ( he must not read my blog).

    Joe Nathan made the same accusation in a Strib thread when I pointed out how mediocre charter schools are. In that case Nathan said I was wrong about charters – because – get this – Obama is for charters!

    This is pure projection on the part of Mike and Joe Nathan. They don’t intend or expect honest discourse – because to them, everything is ideological and partisan. Naturally if they disagreed with me it is because I am from the opposite party!

  28. Mike Kennedy says:

    Opposite of what? I’ve voted Republican, Independent and Democratic. I guess since I’ve never voted for the Green Party, you and I are from opposite parties.

    Good to hear you think all the Dems who voted for the war are liars. At least you are being consistent.

    Now I know you are left of the Dems. So we are clear on that. Thanks for enlightening me.

  29. 108 says:

    BL – In your Minnpost gig you have followed Paymar’s hearings on background checks.

    The committee hearing wrapped with a 5-3 vote to not forward the bill. The view of the majority was apparently “guns bought at gun shows without background checks were not a significant factor in crimes.”

    In your post you ask rhetorically, “Define significant.”

    The testimony to the committee no doubt asserted criminality perpetrated through firearms, but ironically (and I use ironically “ironically”) no cases of those bought at gun shows.

    I would say one example would be a footstep on the long walk to significant.

    So what’s the basis of your rhetorical question? What are you privy to that Kaszuba is too timid to print in his role as an emasculated metro news reporter?

  30. john sherman says:

    Anybody surprised about today’s strib story the Pawlenty embezzled $30,000 from the Support Our Troops license plate fund to help pay one of operatives? It’s his m.o. in miniature: claim you’re cutting costs and stick somebody else with the bill.

    As long as the subject is crappy journalism, why not discuss science reporting which is generally painfully bad. I’m not a scientist (my science career ended when many years ago as a college sophomore, I almost asphyxiated an Organic Chemistry lab by dropping a flask of free bromine), but I’m appalled by the reporting on “climategate.” Incidentally the attaching of the -gate suffix to a story is almost diagnostic of lazy and thoughtless journalism. The actual issues are mildly interesting, like the possible use of tree rings to measure temperature over time, but that wasn’t mentioned in any journalism I saw.

    The basic reason that Stewart and Maddow are better than most self-professed t.v. journalists is that rather than send their interns out to fetch lattes, they sit them down in front of computers and tell them to do research. Their analysis is better in part because their information is better. Currently there is very little penalty for lying because no one is ever called out on it. Jay Rosten had a proposal that on Wednesday the networks do a show fact-checking what was said on the Sunday gasbag shows–no takers, except by Media Matters and the hilarious Culture of Truth. Howell Raines has just put up a piece in theWapo calling out Roger Ailes and Fox for being lying hacks. Famous pyschic predicts that the rest of the media will say, “That’s uncivil and other people do it” because that’s what they always say.

    Incidentally, for those trying to exculpate Bush the lesser on WMD’s because everybody believed it, the two word answer is “Hans Blix.” Nobody seems to remember that the UN was in Iraq from late 2002 until the U.S. chased them out just before the invasion looking every place Rumsfelt could point for WMD’s, and finding what everybody else has found since–bupkis. And, in January of 2003 Robert Byrd proposed a Senate resolution cosigned by a baker’s dozen of Democrats saying that the U.S. shouldn’t invade Iraq until the UN had finished its investigation; needless to say Bill Frist didn’t let that one go very far.

  31. Mike Kennedy says:

    Blix himself was quoted as saying he believed in 2003 that Iraq did have WMD back in the mid and late 1990s. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know he did have them at one point. Um, he actually used them. So the evidence they did not have them at the time was far from clear cut.

    Second, 21 Democrats out of 50 in the senate opposed the invasion. So a baker’s dozen really doesn’t tell us where most Dems were at.

    So Stewart and Maddow are journalists by your definition?

    I consider one to be an entertainer/comedian and the other to be a commentator.

    By the way, can you list all of the lying that has taken place on Fox. I find it rather interesting that the hysterical left throws around charges of lying routinely………Bush lies………Cheney lies………….Fox lies………………but then, I never see the aforementioned……well mentioned.

    Please, do tell.

    1. john sherman says:

      1. Blix was in Iraq looking and not finding anything.

      2.The WMD’s Saddam had in the war v. Iran was stuff we gave him.

      3. The point of the Byrd resolution was delaying the invasion until we actual knew the truth; was Byrd right on the substance, or was it better that we killed 4,000+ Americans, God knows how many Iraqis–though the low end seems to be over 100,000–and end up spending what Stiglitz estimated to be over $2 trillion on the off chance that Saddam might have WMD’s?

      4. How much space do you want to give me to list Fox lies? The specific instance is Howell Raines’ charge, and he gives what seem to him good reasons. If you want to see samples of Fox lies you might check Media Matters which has the unhysterical practice of citing text and providing documentation.

      5. Ultimately there is what a Bush operative derisively called “the reality based community” which believes there is such a thing as evidence that transcends simple assertion and is subject to canons of inquiry. Consequently, journalism does not consist in saying, “Some people say the world is round others say it is flat; we report, you decide.” It may be that the left levels charges about lying because they believe the issue is important.

  32. Mike Kennedy says:

    Funny no one really believed Hans Blix, from many countries in Europe to a majority of Democrats here. Besides, liberals conveniently forget that there were actually about 28 reasons given for invading Iraq — yes WMD led the list but so did defying scads of UN resolutions.

    I love the fact that liberals isolate on the facts that are convenient but ignore anything else. Byrd may have been right, in the end. But large numbers of Democrats and Republicans were wrong, along with the intelligence community, the administration and other countries.

    They all lied……..lied………….lied — I guess is your premise.

    Howell Raines? Are you serious?

    This buffoon was thrown out of the NYT because he supported a journalist who lied…..uh, Jayson Blair ring a bell? Only in journalism can you be discredited as being inept yet still get your drivel published in a major paper.

    “For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party,” Mr. Raines writes. This is a real laugher, considering that about 95 percent of all reporters and editors identify themselves as liberal. Objectivity? How about reality?

    Finally, your seriousness with which you believe the left believes the issue of lying is important is a scream.

    This coming from a party that regularly distorts and lies every bit as bad as the Republican party if not worse from everything about insurance companies “obscene profits” to to Nancy Pelosi lying about how there is no federal funding of abortion contained in the Senate bill.

    By all means, list some of the Fox lies. We have plenty of space here. We aren’t writing in USA Today. It’s cyberspace, where unlimited column inches are available.

    Oh and make sure they aren’t things that were corrected or clarified; otherwise we’ll have to count all of those in the NYT, The Washington Post and everywhere else.

    You liberals get your undies in a bundle over media outlets lying eh? Were you just as upset about Rathergate and CBS’ lies about George Bush?

  33. john sherman says:

    The point you incessantly miss is that what the Byrd resolution said was that we don’t know about WMD’s and should not invade until we do. The UN was doing the investigating.

    Although I doubt it would do any good, I recommend Eric Alterman’s What Liberal Media?

  34. Mike Kennedy says:


    Try reading what I write in full. How can I be clearer? Yes. Byrd was right. I think I said that. The point you keep incessantly missing — though I suspect it is less missing than just flat disregarding — is that there is no one man or party responsible for the miscalculation on WMD, contrary to liberal orthodoxy.

    Oh, and Alterman? I may even read his book. But journalists themselves have been surveyed and found to be heavily liberal and most Americans polled think the media tends to be liberal.

    Anyone who doesn’t believe the media fell into a collective swoon over Obama is in a state of deep denial.

    Rob, you are right. Though I don’t think much of many of the Republican leadership, rank and file, and I think Bush made quite a few mistakes as president. But willful lying? I would need some proof.

    Nixon lied. No doubt about it. There is proof. Clinton lied. No doubt about it. There is proof. Both were idiotic enough to lie either under oath or on tape.

    Speaking of Alterman, he actually wrote a book on presidential lies and singles out FDR, Johnson, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush. I might even read that one, as well. Whether I’m persuaded that any of them actually lied will depend on how he arrives at the conclusions and the evidence he presents.

  35. stpaulboy says:


    Seriously, a guy residing in the glass house that is the investment products business, is going to throw stones like this: “Only in journalism can you be discredited as being inept yet still get your drivel published in a major paper.”

    It is to laugh. Raines isn’t getting interest-free loans from the federal government. Tuh. WHo lost their house because Jayson Blair wrote a phony feature story?

    Raines’ question continues to be a good one.

  36. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, since you have no clear clue or idea of what you’re talking about in relation to my business, I’m tempted to let your comment pass like a quiet, stealthy flatulance — something emitted by someone nameless and faceless.

    You take Raines at face value — I’m truly shocked.

  37. rob levine says:

    BTW Mike – Bill Clinton wasn’t CONVICTED of anything! He was CHARGED with lying – that’s what an impeachment is – th equivalent of an indictment. The actual hearing is in the Senate – and he was NOT found guilty in the trial.

  38. Mike Kennedy says:


    Where in the name of Monica Lewinsky did I say he was CONVICTED?

    I merely said he lied under oath, and there is proof that he did.

    Please, I implore you. Stop reading between the lines and taking what I say out of context (especially when I said no such thing). Is this a Green Party characteristic or just unique to you?

  39. rob levine says:

    Ok Mike – just so I understand. You condemn Clinton because you say there is “proof” he lied under oath – but he wasn’t convicted of it. I don’t believe he even admitted lying. So what is the difference between that and what the Republicans did about lying us into war? Neither was convicted. You say there is proof. Well – there is more than enough proof of the Republicans lying about war. The only difference I see is in the scale of the lying and its consequences, which are quite different, which seems to not interest you.

  40. stpaulboy says:


    Yeah, Mike, I take Raines’ question at face value. It’s legit. He’s still got standing to pose it. He paid a huge price for Blair’s confabulating. Ailes pays no price. So for Raines to ask the question merely adds to the poignancy of it. And, unlike your sophistry, it goes to the long-lost point of Lambert’s blog post.

  41. Mike Kennedy says:

    Someone say something or was it just a poof?

    Powers, you’re welcome to contribute. Good seeing your name.

  42. Jeremy Powers says:

    A week ago — SEVEN DAYS AGO — you commented on an article of press criticism. Now there are 113 posts and most of that is the two of you just arguing about everything. Reminds me of the line from Monty Python.
    “I came here for a good argument!”
    “No you didn’t, you came here for an argument!”

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      True about this particular argument perhaps”, but not to be taken lightly. I haven’t done the research but 113 comments may be a new single-post Crowd record, requiring a very high level of personal dedication on the part of the two most active participants. So, way to go Mr. Levine and Kennedy!! I’m now inspired to rent “My Dinner with Andre”.

  43. Mike Kennedy says:


    This surprises you — that I would goad someone into an argument? How long have we known one another? I’m Irish. I’d argue about the color of a pint of Guinness.


    I’m not sure my one post for every 5 posts on this thread requires much personal dedication, but thank you.

  44. Dennis McGrath says:

    Brian: That’s one hell of a fine piece, m’ man. I went looking for Benidt’s latest rant and ran into it by accident. They ought to post it at Murphy Hall. Ben Bagidikian of Columbia J School fame once said: “If there is a news media or journalist conspiracy, it must be the most effete conspiracy of all time.” Thanks for this piece. “Fellating CEOs and CFOs”? great line.

  45. Brian Lambert says:

    Thanks Dennis. Now that I’ve got my computer back from the Geeks I’ll try to add something new.

  46. Mike Kennedy says:

    You sure you don’t mean Mae West?

    There is no journalism conspiracy — there never was.

    There most certainly is a herd mentality. There always has been. I didn’t even have to read “Boys on the Bus” in J school to know that.

    Yet the same people who rail against the idea of a “media conspiracy,” interestingly, often believe in a alleged “vast right wing conspiracy.”

  47. Ellen Mrja says:

    We had a week-long power outage at the nursing home so I haven’t been able to contribute. Where to begin?!

    I think health care will pass this weekend, barely. It won’t be a decisive victory for Obama or Pelosi but they need any victories they can get, in any form. Of course, this will make the “vast right wing conspiracy” apoplectic for the next 2-4 weeks but will be great for ratings.

    See Rolling Stone for an interesting commentary by Matt Taibbi (one of my favorite of favorites) about Washington: “Democrats and Republicans are basically the same on a lot of issues: They both voted for the Iraq War, they both love pork and useless weapons programs, they both lift their skirts for Wall Street. But they have one major stylistic difference: Republicans are unafraid to exercise power, while Democrats try to run government like one of those pansy-ass T-ball leagues, where every kid gets to have a hit, nobody loses, and nobody has to go home with an ouchie or hurt feelings.”

    I really exaggerated my power, influence and knowledge if I left any of you with the idea that I am the Mistress (stop snickering) of Internet Reporting, Journalism, Truth and Understanding. I’m just a humble school marm who is trying her best to deliver the best that she can fathom of this brave new world. But we, as well as 99% of other J-schools, are no where near where we should be in providing what the students need to know. Frankly, as classes are being canceled and faculty will be let go(thanks, Gov. PoPo), it will become nearly impossible to be able to teach new technology requirements while maintaining anything resembling solid training in the ethics of journalism and public communications. My department lacks in every area to do a proper job of it: money, faculty, hardware, software, resolve. Bruce Benidt and John Gaterud.

    As for training someone to have the heart of a journalist? It just can’t be done. Every once in a while, if you’re very, very good and stand very, very still, a budding journalist will find you. The Mikes, Eileens, Myrons, Jeremys, Krises, etc. And when s/he does, you know you’re good for another year or two of staying in teaching because it has all become worth it again.

    Have any of you read Michael Lewis’ new book THE BIG SHORT? It’s getting lots of buzz. I’ve only read an excerpt of it in this month’s VF – a great piece about Dr. Michael Burry who made $100 million in credit-default swaps of subprime-mortgage bonds (and $729 million for his clients) when the bottom fell out in 2007-2008. Fascinating guy – a loner by nature, whose social life was conducted on the internet, he predicted what was going to happen with the crap mortgage market and, in effect, insured against it. How? He read textbooks, prospectuses, histories of the bond market. Imagine.

    Another fascinating bio by Suzanna Andrews in the same Vanity Fair about Larry Fink, who now controls or monitors $12 trillion worldwide, more or less. Larry who? That’s what lots of people will be surprised to hear themselves asking when they see this piece.

    The best reporting on the financial meltdown and political chicanery has come from Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

    Finally, how can any of you equate screwing a woman (Clinton) with screwing a nation (Bush)?

    Love you. Mean it.

  48. Newt says:


    Nobody should be upset with the “short” investors. They’re the only ones in this equation who truly read the macroeconomic signals. The rest of the world had their head in the sand. The “shorts” deserve the spoils.

    1. PM says:

      Yeah, generally, i agree with you on this one, Newt.

      i think that problem is that a lot of people think that the “shorts” caused the housing meltdown–they didn’t. It was going to happen anyway–they just figured that out before anyone else did (and before it happened), and then figured out a way to make some money off of it.

      In one sense, though, i am upset with them–because i wish i had figured it out, too.

      Amazing how much clearer everything is in hindsight, isn’t it?

Comments are closed.