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Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’



Jerry Brown Meets Sgt. York & Flavor Flav

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

brown 74Forget Jayson Blair’s flagrant plagiarism and Judy Miller’s tireless flacking for the Iraq war in the news pages. The New York Times has now committed its most hideously glaring factual error in recent memory, if not the history of the world: it misstated the model of Jerry Brown’s famous ride from his first term as governor.

As every California school child knows, Brown in his first days in office in 1975 sent powerful signals about his frugality, first by choosing to live in a rented apartment instead of the governor’s mansion and, most famously, by rejecting an executive limo in favor of a 1974 blue Plymouth.

Yet the so-called newspaper of record, on Sunday’s A1 no less,  got the whole thing bollixed up in describing Brown within a piece about former governors in four states who are seeking to return to the office they once held. Here’s Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer on the subject:

A third, Jerry Brown of California, has traded in his groovy blue Valiant that he drove as governor for a Toyota Camry hybrid, which thieves recently removed the wheels from.

“Groovy?” “Blue Valiant”? Really? Apparently The Times no longer publishes stories that copy editors remove the errors from.

For the record, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s state auto was a powder blue 1974 Plymouth Satellite, a 150 hp, 318 cu. in. V8 (list price $3,342). The  Valiant was Chrysler’s Plymouth division play in thejerry-brown-plymouth-car_425-x-283 compact class and manufactured from 1960 to 1976; the Satellite, unveiled as the  top model in the mid-size Belvedere line in 1965, was produced until 1975.

No wonder newspapers are going out of business.

Yo, wussup washpost? Making its bid to capture the prize for the second most moronic mistake of the year, the Washington Post ran this correction on Dec. 3:

A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.

jpg_flavor-flav-newswire-400a111606The article in question was headlined “A note of hope from voices of experience – Public Enemy reaches out to homeless youth in D.C.” In it, local reporter Akeya Dickson reported about Flavor Flav, Chuck D and  posse touring a homeless shelter to raise awareness of the problem, then playing a concert to benefit the district’s  Sasha Bruce House:

Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 9/11 was a joke.

Well, actually not. As Jason Linkins reported in his “Eat the Press” column:

The important distinction between “911″ and “9/11″ could have been made a number of different ways — by either listening to the song, or reading the title of the song or simply noting that the song “911 Is A Joke” was on an album released on May 26, 1990.chuckd

To his credit, Linkins did not put the last words of that sentence IN CAPITAL LETTERS. For the record (again!) the lyric in question is:

So get up, get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown

Ow, ow 911 is a joke

In more ways than one.

Is that a puppet in your sock or are you just glad to see me? Inside Baseball Alert: For Calbuzz, the big kerfuffle over Steve Poizner campaign cash finding its way into the wallet of a conservative blogger who spent his days writing posts that gushed praise for Steve Poizner raises one very fundamental question:

You mean people get paid for blogging?

york_moviestillA quick refresher for those who got drunk and slept through the day: Chip Hanlon, CEO of the right-wing blog Red County, put up a post Wednesday informing his readers that he has banned from the site the blogger formerly known as Sgt. York (who in real life is Placer County GOP activist Aaron Park). Hanlon, it seems, belatedly discovered that the Sarge was receiving payments from a consultant called Steve Frank who was himself receiving payments from Team Poizner; Sarge, it seems, neglected to mention this sort of significant, um, fiduciary relationship to Hanlon.

Complications ensued.

For more on the facts of the case, see posts by Joe Garofoli and Martin Wisckol. Here’s our take:

1-We just love this whole Orange County Republican rat-fucking political culture and the steady stream of sleazy soap operas it produces.

2- HT to Hanlon for canning Sgt. York and disclosing the matter to his readers. At a time when ethical blogging is too often an oxymoron, it’s nice to see somebody step up to defend his credibility.

3-Team Poizner’s response which amounts to  “everybody does it and 1smellfishbesides, we didn’t know anything about it” doesn’t pass the smell test.

4-Hanlon’s secondary claim that Poizner’s camp froze him out and ignored his requests for e-mailed campaign info is over the top, as this would mark the first time in the history of American politics such a thing happened.

5-There are not enough facts in evidence for us to adjudicate the bitter exchange between Hanlon and Poizner flack Jarrod Agen about whether the site is in the tank for eMeg because she buys a lot of advertising. Did we mention we’re not getting paid?

6-The whole dispute returns us to some broader issues we raised a while back about using partisan web sites as third party validators in campaign material:

In other words, does the singular fact that something is published on a web site, any web site, qualify that information to be employed by a serious contender leveling a serious charge in a big statewide race?

If it is, what is to prevent candidates from using campaign cut-outs, perhaps clad in pajamas and tin foil hats, from posting all manner of web-based vitriol beneath all manner of screamer headlines, and then featuring those posts in TV attack ads as evidence that neutral parties think ill thoughts about their rival?

Roseanne_RoseannadannaWhere, exactly, is the line to be drawn? Or is the very notion of a line self-incriminating evidence of discredited MSM-style thinking?

As Roseanne Roseannadanna famously said, “You sure do ask a lot of stupid questions.”

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: The Silicon Valley Insider reveals hidden secrets of AOL bloggers.

Jerry-CNBC Replay Meets Chron-Times Dust-up

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

023-185After Jerry Brown smacked around money honey Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on national TV Wednesday, the vapid CNBC yakker took to her blog to try to win the argument post facto, kinda like a sloppy drunk  mumbling imaginary “I should have told him” lines to herself after getting 86ed from a saloon for acting the fool. Alas, all Ms. Michelle did was dig herself in deeper.

In trying to pooh-pooh the scope of AG Brown’s lawsuit against State Street Bank, she merely proved her incompetence by using a fallacious calculation of damages (based on California’s entire population instead of the much smaller number of actual plaintiffs enrolled in state pension plans).

In reflexively and aggressively defending the bank by portraying Brown’s motivation as totally political, she underscored the condescending contempt that Wall Street hotshots and those paid to kiss their butts for a living have for the rest of us hoi polloi types.

And by invoking as a proper role model for Brown the former New York AG Eliot Spitzer, driven from office by a scandal involving his kink for boning hookers while clad only in executive, knee-length socks, she revealed herself as one of the more dim-witted alums of Wellesley, a fine university, except for its student body’s popular weekend tradition of piling aboard the “Fuck Truck.”

With Crusty twisting the knife by posting his own Huffpost blog, he came away from the incident a clear winner, looking like a champion of the little guy standing up to financial service scumbags, despite the suspicions of some of our friends on the left that it’s more of a pose than a passion.

dragonflippedThe second biggest media kerfuffle of the week came about when Chronsman Phil Bronstein, the Abe Mellinkoff of the new millennium, all but accused the New York Times of plagiarism by noting the similarities between the anecdotal lede of a recent story in his paper and that of a feature featured in the Times’ much-ballyhooed new Bay Area section, which is aimed at eating the remaining crumbs of the Chronicle’s lunch.

Whereupon the nimble and resourceful SF Weekly quickly noted that the Chron lede he cited itself bore a striking resemblance to that of a Long Beach Post-Telegram story published days before.  This was quickly followed by a brushback blog from (all rise) the Times associate managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, who declared Bronstein’s bitch to be “ridiculous.” El Macho, studiously ignoring the Long Beach-Chronicle connection, riposted by harrumphing that he expected more from the Times.

Then he resumed channeling the late Mellinkoff, a longtime High Sheriff of the Chronicle newsroom who, in the twilight of a storied career, was shunted off to write an ed-page column, which longtime rival Bill German  famously declared should always end with the phrase “Solution Tomorrow.”

weintraub

Speaking of self-referential columnists: Calbuzz kudos to Dan Weintraub, longtime opiner at the B-who’s bailed to launch a new web site (brave man) focused on health care, and to write a Sunday column for the NYT’s aforementioned Bay Area pages. But what’s with the self important farewell piece? We counted no less than 25 uses of the word “I,” along with 14 references to “my,” in the piece, an enough-about-me-what-do-you-think-of-me, self-satisfied summing up of what a splendid fellow is Dan Weintraub. Did we mention he  practically invented the Internets?

“While that change has been difficult for the newspaper industry’s business model, I’ve been a big supporter of the Internet as a way for us to better connect with our readers. With my editors’ support, I’ve tried to be a pioneer in the field, and now, to their chagrin, I am taking what I’ve learned and leaving to do my own thing.”

Trust us, Dan, they’ll get over it.

jerrytwirl

Don’t spill that seed: All right thinking Calbuzzers — even the gnostic monads among us — know quite well that the “Omega Seed” refers to the universal and ultimate encapsulation of all the information-learning generated by evolutionary development, a fascinating idea developed by Paolo Soleri and his Arcosanti Project.

Now the Omega Seed has surfaced in the governor’s race, as A-list political reporters recall Brown asking Soleri about the idea, in one of a series of interviews with innovative thinkers he conducted years ago that form the spine of his ’90s era book “Dialogues.”

With anti-Brown political oppo types (we name no names) just now mischievously sowing the field of Campaign ’10 with seeds of ridicule about the General’s, um, iconoclastic past, artifacts like his book and transcripts of his old KPFA radio shows are suddenly – mysteriously! -   turning up in blogs and the columns of California’s finest newspapers, as purported evidence of the strangeness and wackiness of “Moonbeam” Brown.

But here’s the beauty part: As with the Omega Seed notion, the kaleidoscopic “wacky” ideas that have fascinated Brown over the past four decades almost always show themselves to be genuinely interesting, intriguing and even important, and the spectacle of political hacks, insiders and scribes laughing uproariously at them just proves anew what a shallow bunch of anti-intellectual nitwits we are.

Today’s sign that the end of civilization is near (click on the photo): sweatlodge

Dog Days: Manson, Nixon, Woodstock & Big Pharma

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

mansonBack before the Earth cooled, it was an unquestioned article of faith among those laboring in the fields of the Fossil Fuel Media that August was “a slow news month,” especially for politics.

With schools, Congress and the Legislature all out of session, the highly-paid, glass-office suits headed for Tahoe or Bora Bora, leaving the peons behind to mind the city desk and confront long weeks of desperate striving to devise something – anything! – to fill the vast, barren stretches of newsprint strung between the Macy’s underwear ads.

Veteran members of the Calbuzz Content Production Team fondly recall their papers running massive, front-page color photos of rug rats sucking water from a garden hose – festooned with “How Hot WAS It?” headlines – or ersatz stories about alligators mysteriously spotted in urban lakes , or “Dear Reader” editor’s columns about the dearth of news in August (sort of like this one).

But now, it appears, the traditional slow news month has gone the way of other civilized newsroom traditions, like the pica pole, the early slide and the liquid lunch.

In California, partisans and pols have barely paused for breath in the 100-year war over the state budget , while wannabes disdain the quaint notion of taking a summer siesta off the campaign trail or halting tit for tat attacks.

And on the Right Coast, the Biggest Foot columnist for the New York Times
has declared that this month – August! – to be a make or break month for President Obama, a theme embraced, echoed and embellished by other powerful pundits:

obama“July proved the most difficult month of (Obama’s) young administration,” Dan Balz, the Boswell of Big O’s Administration wrote in a widely noticed WashPost piece:

“His approval ratings dropped. Disapproval of his major initiatives rose sharply. Neither the House nor the Senate met his deadline to pass a version of health care. Finally, the White House and its allies at the Democratic National Committee ended up in a high-pitched argument over whether citizens protesting health care were expressing real or manufactured anger.

That raises the stakes for August. As Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg put it: “Everybody understands they [Obama and his Democratic allies] have to be in a new chapter when they come back at the end of August.”

While Balz’s piece provided a characteristically clear and conscientious survey of the current political terrain, Calbuzz looked in vain for discussion of a crucial point about the perils facing the president: his closed door deal with Big Pharma.

Beyond the howls and shouts about the town hall meetings over health care, it is the ongoing White House double talk and conflicting reports about what Obama did or did not promise the pharmaceutical industry in secret confabs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue which pose the greatest risk of self-inflicted political damage to the president.

Throughout the campaign, Obama famously promised that when he came to tackle the intractable problem of health care, he would broadcast on C-Span his meetings with Big Pharma, which he vowed would bend to the full power of the federal government in negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare, perhaps the single most important and practical consumer reform at stake in the health care debate.

If reports are true, however, that Obama promised to cap the concessions on promised savings by the industry at $80 billion -– in exchange for a $150 million advertising campaign backing whatever plan the president supports — Obama will swiftly lose the mantle of political and personal integrity that was the crucial factor in his election as a tribune of new politics. Without that, his Yes-We-Can rhetoric about fundamental change will grow ever more empty and hypocritical.

Slow news month, indeed.woodstock2

P.S. Amid all the real news, it’s good to see that leading media organizations have not forsworn that hardy summer perennial, the August anniversary story. Here are three of our favorites:

1. Jon Pareles of the New York Times churned out a delightful essay on the coming 40th anniversary of Woodstock, accompanied by a cornucopia of multi-media delights that reminded Calbuzz of our head band and love bead days.

2. Speaking of head bands, the Post also made good use of what you like to call your multi-platform storytelling in a 40-year look back at the Manson Family and the Helter Skelter murders.

3. And lest we forget, the By God L.A. Times reminds us that the Big Dick, who almost screwed the pooch on Manson’s conviction by declaring him guilty before the verdict, resigned as president 35 years ago this month.

We Surf So You Don’t Have To, Memorial Day Edition

Monday, May 25th, 2009

memorialdayMemorial Day Mystery: Limbering up for some rigorous holiday chillin’, Calbuzz made a quick online check to find the origin of Memorial Day, figuring we’d just casually…drop it in…to the barbecue conversation; as with most things political, however, the answer came neither quickly nor clearly, as it turns out bragging rights are in dispute and break down along red state-blue state lines.

Newsweek reports that the holiday formerly known as Decoration Day was started by freed slaves in celebration of Union soldiers who died in prison camps, but a Purdue history professor in a new book traces it to Southern ladies honoring Confederate troops. The official, establishment version, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has it both ways, stating that Yankees and Rebs alike got flowers on their graves at Decoration Day I in 1868. Maybe we won’t mention it after all.

Stroke, stroke, bail, bail: Although both Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have rejected the notion of the feds providing California with a bail-out – apparently the government just can’t afford to divert taxpayer money away from the banks – the issue is not likely to disappear soon, given the magnitude of the Capitol’s fiscal mess.

With that in mind, both the Washington Post and the New York Times weighed in on Sunday with editorials about the wisdom of Washington coming to the rescue of Sacramento.

While unkind to California, the Post edit at least had the virtue of being clear what it was arguing (one word synopsis – NO!!!) while the Times propounded a total Miss Scarlett With The Rope In The Study head-scratcher that verged on the incoherent.

As far we can tell, the Times’ position is as follows: a) Obama’s right not to offer a bailout; b) failing to give California money could be an economic “fiasco”; c) California must fix its problem with spending cuts or tax increases, or both; d) spending cuts and tax increases are both bad during a recession; e) when Obama intervenes eventually, he should do so in a way that forces California not to adopt spending cuts or tax increases but; f) still causes a lot of pain so other states don’t line up for bailouts.

One free Calbuzzer button to the reader who best summarizes the Times editorial in 15 words or less. Bring back Gail Collins!

Pelosi and the P-word: Weirdest political yarn of recent days is Politico’s report on a new Republican National Committee ad that compares Speaker Nancy Pelosi to James Bond nemesis Pussy Galore:

“She’s the 69-year-old speaker of the House of Representatives, second in the line of succession and the most powerful woman in U.S. history. But when you see Nancy Pelosi, the Republican National Committee wants you to think “Pussy Galore.” At least that’s the takeaway from a video released by the committee this week – a video that puts Pelosi side-by-side with the aforementioned villainess from the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger.”

The full story, and a link to the ad, are here.

What’s up next: While Sacramento’s abattoir act advances this week, there are a couple other big political stories to watch for. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to issue its long-awaited ruling about the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on Tuesday, and with Republicans already threatening a filibuster, Obama allies say he’s likely to name his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court this week as well.

Calbuzz Rant: eMeg Mutters More Malarkey

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

megcropCalbuzz watched eMeg Whitman — who’s been ducking serious questions from California political writers for months — being “interviewed” on Fox by Neil Cavuto a few hours ago. We waited to post in hopes we’d cool down, but we’re still fuming.

eMeg’s solution to California’s massive budget and spending crisis? Run government more like a business, create jobs and streamline government. Ah, c’mon. Like nobody’s ever peddled that pablum before.

“I’ve run large organizations,” Meg said. “I understand how to lead large organizations. I’ve balanced budgets. I’ve created jobs. As you know, 1.3 million people make their living selling on eBay,” she said. [Note eBay sellers: Meg claims she created your job.] She failed to note, however, as Saul Hansell did in the New York Times the other day, that “John Donahoe, her successor, has pretty much disassembled all of her major strategic moves.”

“We have to streamline government,” eMeg blathered. “Californians can no longer afford the government they have; we have got to give them the government they deserve and works for the people.” Poor Ted Sorenson must be gasping for breath.

This wasn’t an interview – it was a warm-up for an interview, where tepid, mushy platitudes slid by as “answers.” While eMeg was happy to cavort with Cavuto, she’s apparently terrified of the Bakersfield Californian – whose reporter she stiffed at the California Republican Assembly confab over the weekend. Since stumbling through a sit-down with Michael Finnegan of the L.A. Times the day after she announced back in February, she’s avoided every other serious news outlet in California. She’s ducking the Sacramento Press Club’s May 18 debate on the propositions. And Calbuzz is still waiting for our tete-a-tete with her Megness.

eMeg says it’s a “false choice” to have to pose cutting services versus raising taxes. Instead, she said, “We have to make government more efficient.” Aaaaarrgggggh. [Cut to Calbuzz tearing out what's left of our hair.]

NEWS ALERT HERE: eMeg did announce her support for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. “I would support Mitt,” she said, noting that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin “did an admirable job with the job she was dropped into.”

As for how she’ll try to sell herself to the right-wing movementeers in the California Republican Party who think she’s a squishy liberal, eMeg argued for a return to “core principles” of the GOP.

“We can’t lead with the social issues. We’ve got to lead with our power-alley issues – which are not divisive, which everyone can buy into, and let’s lead with what we know most people want and it’s the tried and true formula for creating a strong economy, which allows you to do many other things.”

WTF was the answer? Is she speaking in eCode?

We’re just sayin.’

PS: Note to the City Sunnyvale – eMeg slandered the hell out of you: She said, when making her point about the need to streamline government, that when building a new building for PayPal it took 2 ½ years “to break ground” and required “three consultants to navigate the labyrinth of California regulations.” Could any of that be true? We await your reply.