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Clinton's Guest Blogging Venue Raises Some Eyebrows

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) first guest blog posting (that is, on a blog other than her own) is raising a few eyebrows in Democratic political circles.

Not because of what Clinton wrote, but because of where she chose to post it.

On Tuesday, paying tribute to the observance of Equal Pay Day, Clinton chose to blog about pay equity on firedoglake.com -- the smart, edgy and saucy progressive blog run by women. It's the online home for Jane Hamsher, producer of the 1994 cult classic film "Natural Born Killers" and author of a bestselling, tell-all book "Killer Instinct" on the making of the controversial movie.

In Democratic political circles, though, Hamsher is better known as the author of a racially offensive attack against Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). The incident occurred last summer when Lieberman still officially carried a "D" after his name but was running an ultimately unsuccessful primary race against Ned Lamont.

Hamsher, who was supporting Lamont in the race, posted a doctored photo of Lieberman in black face on HuffingtonPost.com (Read The Washington Post's coverage here). Hamsher wound up apologizing (to "anyone who was genuinely offended") and taking down the photo.

A day after Clinton's post appeared on firedoglake.com, Democratic activists in various corners privately questioned the wisdom of the Clinton campaign in choosing to write for a blog associated with Hamsher. "It's potentially problematic," said one Hillary backer, who asked for anonymity to speak freely about the issue. "The topic [equal pay for women] is OK, but you have to wonder why she picked firedoglake.com?"

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said Hamsher's blog was picked because "there are 100,000 people who frequent this site and we wanted to have a conversation with them." Plus, he pointed out, Hamsher apologized for the offensive photo (which, ironically, was a photo of Lieberman with former president Bill Clinton).

One Democratic strategist who was happy to speak publicly was Dan Gerstein, a former Lieberman spokesman who now runs his own political communications firm. (And to clarify for Sleuth readers who have questioned Gerstein's relationship with Lieberman, Gerstein indeed remains a paid adviser to Lieberman.)

Gerstein said he understands the Clinton camp wanting to reach out to lots of potential voters, especially women. But given that Clinton, "under the microscope to a much higher degree of scrutiny," Gerstein said, "I don't think this was necessarily a good idea for her."

He suggested that Clinton's decision was particularly politically dangerous in light of the senator's vocal criticism of Don Imus after the shock jock's racially demeaning comments about the Rutgers women's basketball players.

Clinton could have chosen a blogger with "less baggage," Gerstein said. "Just as pure strategy, why would you want to take a risk and invite scorn and controversy and an accusation of hypocrisy when you don't have to?"

Singer said the decision rested solely on the demographics on a day that made sense: "It's the top [liberal] blog run by women, and it was Equal Pay Day."

So let's see which Democratic presidential candidate decides to blog for Jeff Gannon on "National Coming Out Day" ...

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 25, 2007; 5:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Here is a nuance that apparently Mary Ann doesn't grasp. Hillary isn't going to win the primary unless she can sway the netroots. As it stands now, all of the liberal websites are opposed to Clinton. Firedoglake.Com is a perfect place to try and turn the tide, and Jane Hamsher is one of the most respected people in the blogoshere. BTW Her biggest claim to fame has nothing to do with NATURAL BORN KILLERS, it's because she made it possible for bloggers to gain media access to the Libby trial, and then bravely got off of her sickbed to do just that.
Is Mary Ann suggesting that there are Democrats who are not going to vote for Clinton in either the primary or the general election because of Hamsher's dig at an imbecile like Lieberman?
It's always odd when right wing nitwits like Akers or Dick Morris make assertions about how certain candidates are going to turn off their base unless they act like right wing pundits.

Posted by: Sonofabastard | April 25, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely amazing, beyond amazing even, this borders on phantasmagorical. Will hypocrisy know no end?

QFtA:"Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said Hamsher's blog was picked because "there are 100,000 people who frequent this site and we wanted to have a conversation with them." Plus, he pointed out, Hamsher apologized for the offensive photo "

Wasn't Senator Clinton one of the loudest "Apologies are Not Enough" voices during the "IMUS CRISIS"? I guess they are only enough when it's one of your 'friends' doing the apology.

Btw Great last line :)

Posted by: PTBartman | April 25, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I like the way you broke the story., I am Janair Williams Sr., but WHAT I REALLY LIKE? is that Senator Clinton, knows how to do the hard stuff., after a person is wounded, she goes out to heal., she reaches where others are skeptical., She is no President Bush., I mean, she ABSOLUTELY is not President Bush! she is a woman of fine character and she is steady proving it. I am glad you brought it out., it doesn't look like she is hiding to me. is it that bad, that we don't give people chances, this is why I say don't give up on our Attorney General Gonzales., you can see, he is shaken, as others aren't! the Above the Law people!!! they know who they are!!! they need to step down!!! the head should lead by example and QUIT!!! RESIGN!!! but that is all right time is of the essence. all you did was show THAT she is the right person for the job., I was in Savannah,GA., when I went to and AA meeting there., one of the people had AIDS, and this is when it first came out, everybody was scared of him, I was there to support another family member, but nobody would get near him, I went over and hug him. my wife was pleased with me, she said I am always trying., I also remember when I was married, how a man, came up our stairs., I thought I had lock the door, but he was hungry, I said Phyllis, get him something to eat, she made him one of the thickest Ham sandwiches I had ever saw., my wife is A GREAT WOMAN! and so is our soon to be President Hillary Rodham Clinton-I knew it had to be GOD who open that door, because I saw that same man, at church the next night, my church and giving praise, but I never saw him again-you never know when we are entertaining angels-the bible says, plus he ate pork!

Posted by: Janair Williams Sr. | April 25, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm by no means someone who travels in "Democratic Political Circles," but that incident got a whole lot more play from right wing outlets. In that race, folks like Sean Hanity and Michelle Malkin were publicly supporting Lieberman, and they were the type of folks who expressed "outrage." My guess is that Hamsher is actually best known in Democratic circles as the most influential female blogger on the left, and better known in Republican Political circles as the blackface-picture-chick.

Posted by: bonobo | April 25, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Sonofabastard is 100% correct - Hillary is reaching out to the left wing blogs because she knows that her support there is weak and that doing so will do her more good than harm. She's wisely establishing netroots connections.

Posted by: ElizabethFL | April 25, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

To avoid marginalization on the left wing, we really need a nominee just anotch or two to the right of Hillary.

Posted by: John D. Froelich | April 25, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that that's what you choose to characterize firedoglake as rather than recognize the outstanding work they did educating and informing Democrats and other Americans about the legal and procedural issues throughout the Plame Affair and especially the Libby trial.

Rush Limbaugh regularly says extremely offensive things on his radio show, yet Dick Cheney goes on there all the time. When can we look forward to your column spotlighting that?

Posted by: Andy | April 26, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

«One Democratic strategist who was happy to speak publicly was Dan Gerstein»

And I'm sure he placed the call. Dangerstein takes it personally.

It seems as if the author forgot the fact that her own colleagues were hitting the refresh button during the Libby trial for FireDogLake's live-blogged coverage -- even as the op-ed section was thrown open to Victoria Toensing's thinly-veiled attempt to tap up the jury. Oh well.

Posted by: Nick S | April 26, 2007 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers, didn't you realize that Jeff Gannon, former male escort and mysteriously accredited White House press room "journalist", is a Republican?

Posted by: thedeadcanary | April 26, 2007 3:04 AM | Report abuse

at one time, i thought both john mccain and hillary rodham-clinton would have made great Presidents -- i see i was wrong on both counts based on their recent public behavior. mccains behavior is appauling, where rodham clintons is merely disappointing.

Posted by: egalitaire | April 26, 2007 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Tell the truth, MaryAnn -- did you know about HRC's appearance on FDL before DangerStein called you? Or did he point you to the story and steer you to a buddy who backs HRC but didn't want his/her name used in your "blog?"

And did you contact Jane Hamsher for a comment? Funny that your "blog post" doesn't mention that, which violates WaPo standards. Or -- is your "blog" so edgy and unedited that you don't have to conform to WaPo standards about contacting subjects of your stories and informing your readers the result of that contact?

And, another piece of Jane's "baggage" is providing hundreds of thousands of readers with realtime access to Irve Libby's felony trial for obstruction and lying -- something she scooped all TradMed in doing. Did DangerStein not fill you in on that piece of the puzzle?

It's called reporting, MaryAnn -- you should try it sometime.

Posted by: teddy94110 | April 26, 2007 3:34 AM | Report abuse

Getting the blogosphere of politics for that matter just isn't that difficult, though presumably that's what this writer is paid to understand. Clinton needs cred with the blogosphere, which she doesn't have. And with cause. Blogging at Firedoglake was a smart move. Controversial? Outside of that one ill-considered move on Hamsher's part, she's spot on. Only the worst kind of Broderism could insinuate a parallel between Hamsher and Imus. Please. And if you think FDL is out there politically, keep in mind that on issues like the Iraq war, it is more aligned with the views of Americans than say the editorial page of the Washington Post. I'm sure the DLC insiders will never get this, but someone covering the blog world should try. Methinks Dan Gerstein was behind this story. Why else would anyone call him for comment? While not asking Hamsher for comment??? Did Gerstein suggest the Gannon quip?

Posted by: Lilybelle | April 26, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Mary Ann, please concentrate on gossip with relevance, not cheap shots. Firedoglake is an excellent place for Clinton to blog, and its claim to fame is not the one overpublicized and trivial incident you dote on, but the fact that it has created one of the more intelligent liberal blog communities -- and sent more people to cover the Valerie Plame trial than the Wapo, the NYT and CNN combined. See, e.g., the NYT front-page story on that: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/washington/15bloggers.html?ex=1329195600&en=a1b3bef71901b4e6&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
Comparing firedoglake to Jeff Gannon may be cute, but it's not remotely appropriate and beneath you. Is your goal to inform and grow your reader base -- or inflate your pageviews by getting cheap links from haters?

Posted by: A colleague | April 26, 2007 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Who's calling the kettle black? Dan Gerstein!!! How many times did Joe Lieberman not only appear but prostrate himself before Don Imus on his radio show?

Posted by: Ben | April 26, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I think that Hillary made an inspired choice. Does the far too extreme level of scrutiny bother anyone else? I see little actual criticism of the Democratic candidate's platforms, but plenty on Edwards hair, or Hillary's blogging habits, or where she made her announcement...and then the coverage of the Republicans talks about how brave it is for McCain to take his stand in support of the war, etc.

Give me a break. It's exasperating.

Posted by: Kristian T. | April 26, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: William | April 26, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

This is a dog desperately in search of a bone story. You never even really bother to analyze what Hillary said about equal pay. Oh no, the whole point of your story is to create yet another Clinton controversy. Please describe to me in detail how Jane Hamsher is exactly in the same category as Don Imus? Does she lace her website daily with abuse and bullying put downs? Has she got a long trail of racist and sexist remarks? Of course not. So, gasp, she made one gaffe which she apologized for. We have Chris Matthews patronizing and subtly sneering treatment of black guests on his show daily, which is arguably more corrosive. I think its dishonest and dispicable to use Hamsher as a disposible wipe in you efforts to ratch up your Clinton scalp score.

Listen, I know the shortest route to a journalistic career in beltway journalism is to knock the Clintons. Ratings go up, you don't have to terribly analytical, just smear, infer, and you're good to go. But a word of advice: its getting harder to do this kind of drive-by journalism in an era of blogging. In the end you have to decide do you want your reputation or prefer to join the other Clinton bottom feeders who are ruining American journalism by the day.

Posted by: Exo | April 26, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

All I can do is second many of the comments already. What weak stuff.

Posted by: cab91 | April 26, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Weak. And btw, when you want a comment - go to a real Democrat, not Dan Gerstein, who has had his own run-in with firedoglake. Pathetic.

Posted by: Ann Arbor MI | April 26, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I also note you didn't address how firedoglake has criticized you for your obvious bias against the Democratic party. Convenient, no?

Posted by: Ann Arbor, MI | April 26, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"So let's see which Democratic presidential candidate decides to blog for Jeff Gannon on "National Coming Out Day" ..."

That is just idiotic. Jeff Gannon was and is a CONSERVATIVE blogger, and it was a liberal blog that exposed he worked as a gay escort. Are you comparing Jane Hamsher to him? Man, that is pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Au contraire to Janaire Williams Sr:
Hillary is very much like President Bush--in fact, she is a mirror image of Mr. President. Where Bush swings his right arm around wildly and talks crookedly out of the right side of his phony mouth, mirror image Hillary swings her left arm around wildly and talks crookedly out of the left side of her phony mouth. [I speak metaphorically, of course.]

All the myriad of faults that one hates about Bush have long been shown to be the same [from the other side] in Hillary. For example, they are both violent dividers of the country at large, at a time when we desperately need a proven uniter [like Bill Richardson]. Bush and Hillary are both naturally arrogant, self-righteous, and hypocritical. You can compare them quality by quality, example by example, in an unbiased way--if you are capable of doing that--and reach your own conclusions.

And for all those who drag God into their political biases--God has nothing to do with the election or non-election of anybody! If God has personally declared for a candidate, there's no need to think or to vote. Our country needs voters who can think independently of religious or political bias.

Posted by: Radical Patriot | April 26, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"To avoid marginalization on the left wing, we really need a nominee just anotch or two to the right of Hillary.

Posted by: John D. Froelich | April 25, 2007 11:53 PM"

Unfortunately, a nominee just a notch or two to the right of Hillary would be a Republican.

Posted by: mjshep | April 26, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann - That was a hatchet job.

There is nothing in your article referring to the Equal Pay issue itself, Sen. Clinton's position on Equal Pay, or Jane Hamsher's reason for having Sen. Clinton be a guest blogger regarding the Equal Pay issue.

By the way, if you had done some research related to the topic, you would have discovered that women make $0.77 for the same $1.00 of male pay.

Since you aren't fighting the good fight for Equal Pay - who are you fighting for?

Posted by: radiofreewill | April 26, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann: Did nobody explain to you that you are not to say anything negative about Saint Hillary? Stick to bashing us radical right wingers. We won't be offended.

Posted by: Jerry Bainbridge | April 26, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann, what a cheap shot! You should be ashamed of yourself! As an avid FDLer, I can testify to FDL's finer journalistic instincts on reporting, than your editorial board! They seek out the truth, as opposed to your stenography!!!

Posted by: CTuttle | April 26, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, rake someone over the coals for a naughty picture, and ignore how dozens of commenters at her site protested the picture. I was there that day. You were not, Ms. Akers. To many of those fine people, it was wrong, and they called her on it. I was among them. To Ms. Hamsher*s credit she removed the photo, and apologized for it. One instance of bad judgment isn't the end of the world, as you would have it. But you will be here in a few days, tittering over John Edwards hair. How sad must your life be to have nothing else to preoccupy you.

As it is, if you are going after people who make offensive remarks, or use offensive images, take a stroll through Media Matters--if you can stop sharpening your talons on your vacuous head long enough. They have plenty of examples of far worse things conservatives say and do, day in and day out, and none of them ever EVER apologize for their actions.

I would like to know when we can get real journalists again, and not these Heathers who have never developed beyond a jr. high mentality.

Posted by: Aquaria | April 26, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

firedoglake wasn't a good choice on Senator Clinton's part?
Wow. How utterly uninformed.

Posted by: Jan | April 26, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann in an age where newspapers are losing readers to the Blogs and laying off employees to stay profitable. Is it really wise for you attack FireDogLake?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

MaryAnn:

You destroy your own credibility with attack dog pseudo-reporting. HR Clinton was perfectly correct in choosing Firedoglake as a venue for liveblogging. The readers there are informed, rely on fact-based and confirmed reportage, carry on intelligent discussions and generally advance many issues quite well. Firedoglake is a widely read and widely respected participatory blog.

Your column, on the other hand, relied on a Lieberman spokesman to plant biased and derogatory implied and actual slurs. You haven't done anything here that's aboveboard, ethical and objective. There isn't a single aspect of ethical journalism in evidence within your column.

Posted by: N=1 | April 26, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

MaryAnn, Firedoglake is the best blog site for up to the minute factual blogs. Try it, you might even like it. There are cynics who post as well, so you won't feel left out. Hillary did herself a great deal of good by engaging very pragmatic younger people who need to get aquainted with her , first hand. Jane Hamsher is a fair blog manager, and a great researcher. You would do well to try that: it's called R_E_S_E_A_R_C_H.

Posted by: Jo-Ann | April 26, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

firedoglake wasn't a good choice on Senator Clinton's part?
Wow. How utterly uninformed.

Posted by: Jan | April 26, 2007 04:12 PM
`
Jan, tell me if I'm wrong about this. You would never vote for Hillary Clinton, no matter who was running against her. If I'm correct, why would she take your opinion of Jane Hamsher into consideration?
To be honest with you, I'm certainly not going to vote for her in the Democratic primary, and will only do so reluctantly in the general election if she wins the nomination.


Posted by: Sonofabastard | April 26, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann,

I believe that it was Danny G, who made a big deal out of the Lieberman blackface in the first place. Jane, perhaps, used a poor choice of graphics to illustrate her point of Joe's pandering to minorities - who btw voted against him in the primary.


Danny - the white house's political director's job may have an opening soon - you would be a perfect fit.

Posted by: Erik | April 26, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

lookie here, another fool with a WaPo forum practicing dingbat stenography. Mary Ann, keep those phone lines open ... a source could be calling any second with a Clinton scoop. Don't worry about calling anyone or reporting anything. Source = goldmine! Yeeeha. You gotta love american journalism.

Posted by: thersitz | April 26, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

What an utterly unfair hit piece. Jane Hamsher is *not* best known for her role as producer for "Natural Born Killers", that's practically a trivia question.

Firedoglake's claim to fame is its thorough coverage of the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame scandal, and for providing the best coverage anywhere of the Valerie Plame trial.

And Dan Gerstein, like his boss, is no longer a Democrat; Jane Hamsher had a lot to do with that, by her fundraising and advocacy for Ned Lamont.

Posted by: Joe Buck | April 27, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh my, Hillary reaching out to lefties. Imagine that!

Posted by: Mimi Schaeffer | April 27, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

One more teeny weensy little item. Whose eyebrows were raised?

Name names.

Posted by: Mimi Schaeffer | April 27, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

God, you are a hack and an idiot.

But what would you expect from a moron would who cc all her sources.
It makes sense that you would be posting drivel fed to you by Dan Gerstein, he is probably the only guy low rent enough to not delete your contact info after that stunt.

Can't believe you get paid for this.
The world is truly upside down.

Posted by: David Helms | April 27, 2007 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Mary Ann,

I note that while you appear to have sought out quotes from Gerstein, Singer, and an anonymous Clinton campaign aide, you have no quotes, and appear to have not even contacted Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin Smith, or anyone actually connected with Firedoglake.

While Hamsher has made a mistake in the past (for which she's apologized), by your reasoning - or at least Gerstein's and your anonymous source - Clinton should avoid not only FDL but also the Washington Post for its own errors of fact and/or offense.

The truth is that not only is FDL run by women, it is one of the smartest, most progressive, and most well-written blogs on the internet.

As a regular reader and occasional commenter at FDL, I was surprised, impressed by, and grateful for Clinton's appearance there.

Count me (and many others) among those for whom Clinton's nod towards FDL was not problematic, but instead raised her standing another notch.

.

Posted by: JGabriel | April 27, 2007 2:10 AM | Report abuse

you know, I've read firedoglake for years now. And until this piece I had zero idea Jane was involved in Natural Born Killers.

I mean, I do pay attention. But just to things that are actually interesting and important. And when I hear interesting and important things, I research them. I ask myself, is this fact I've learned true? Am I getting the whole story?

Mary, try that approach next time a fact comes across your desk. It's possible there might be an even better story, just waiting for you to find it.

Posted by: strand | April 27, 2007 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Did this column come to you prewritten, hot off the fax machine? It's a hit job.

You say nothing about Clinton's blog post, nothing about the issue of equal pay for women, and no comment from Jane Hamsher. Your journalism degree, assuming you have one, must have come from Regent University.

The neocon editors must love your work, but your readers sure don't. We want and need facts, which is exactly why the blogs are growing and newspapers aren't.

Posted by: Lily | April 27, 2007 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it a bit disingenuous of you to quote extensively from Dan Gerstein without pointing out that he, even perhaps moreso than Lieberman himself, has been a frequent target of Hamsher's criticism, and should not be regarded as a reliable source in this matter? Wouldn't it be more journalistically responsible to gather commentary from those without an axe to grind?

Posted by: SammyG | April 27, 2007 2:39 AM | Report abuse

How on Earth could you quote Dan Gerstein ripping on FDL and not mention the very large axe he has to grind for Jane Hamsher and the other authors at FDL? The guy has an agenda, as any cursory Google search could have revealed. To wit: http://tinyurl.com/23cdnn

And how can you not get a quote from Hamsher for your FDL/HRC hit piece?

Are you always this shabby in your reporting or is this an off day for you?

Posted by: Tim in SF | April 27, 2007 2:59 AM | Report abuse

Consider this for a second: that blackface picture (that Ms. Hamsher did not actually make herself) was supposed to be offensive. Lieberman's behavior was offensive, and sometimes nothing shows that better than an editorial cartoon, which is basically what the blackface picture was. For all the people who said it was racist, I never actually saw anybody explain how it was so.

I don't actually care for Clinton, but if she is doing something to raise the eyebrows of hacks like Gerstein (who has been a longtime target at FDL...that seems relevant to this article, don't you think?) then she's not as bad as I thought.

Posted by: Jason Pellett | April 27, 2007 3:12 AM | Report abuse

FireDogLake is reality based, not gossip based. Assertions have links to sources, comments frequently have links, it is fast, informative, frequently funny, and always amusing.

I suggest you read it for an hour a day, including comments, and see if you might figure out something about readers. Right now I cannot fathom who you think you are writing for. Perhaps you might consider a name change for your column, The Slough might be more descriptive than The Sleuth.

Posted by: TexasEllen | April 27, 2007 4:31 AM | Report abuse

What cutting edge journalism. Love your sources. Will you be doing an article on George Bush with info from Al Franken, Rachel Maddow and Al Gore? Or can't you find a left-handed hatchet?

Posted by: Kevin Lyda | April 27, 2007 4:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't think you know what the meaning of the word "sleuth" is.

And this column is clearly not expected to adhere to any existing standards of journalism; it was lazy, disingenuous, one-sided.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Maybe what you're doing is following the Russert standard -- sitting and waiting for a "source" to call with "information". One of those magical, agenda-free, anonymous sources.

Great sleuthing. Sherlock Holmes would be jealous.

Posted by: SteveNS | April 27, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Mary Ann, this post was not a good career move. It's not 2004, dear. We can thank bloggers like Jane Hamsher for that. Hillary needed to get to know her base because we don't worship her. And there is no comparison between Jane and Imus. The cartoon was a visua metaphor not intended to be offensive to african americans. I'd feel sorry for what is about to descend on you but some people learn the hard way. Thanks for the free publicity for FDL.

Posted by: portia.vz | April 27, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Between David Broder's satirical take-down of Harry Reid, and now this, well all I can say is, Comedy Central has some real right-wing humor competition on its hands!

Posted by: wapo_stockholder | April 27, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

HRC posts on Firedoglake, and it raises "a few eyebrows" in democratic circles. If you count Dan Gerstein as a Democrat that would be one or two, depending on how he raises his eyebrows. Of course, given the beatdown he suffered in losing the primary with Lieberman, and backing Lieberman as an independent with strong Republican money and vote support, I wouldn't call him a Democrat, more of an opportunist. Maybe one or two more eyebrows were raised similar loser and soi-disant Democrat Dick Morris. Got more eyebrows? Do share.

Posted by: masaccio | April 27, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Dangerstein is an idiot. He got whipped and ridiculed by Firedoglake last summer when he was on Holy Joe's campaign. So, he trashes Firedoglake whenever he can. He also purports to speak for the Democrats while he is in fact only speaking for turn-coat Holy Joe. Pay no attention to him. he is a nobody. And yes, he is STILL on Lieberman's payroll.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

This column reads like a parody of Beltway stenography but despite the author's Tina Fey Weekend Update-style eyeglasses I assume the intent was not satirical.

Posted by: James Urbaniak | April 27, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Of course Jane Hamsher is an obnoxious leftwing nutball -- but she's one with street cred among the nutroots, and it is the nutroots that Hillary is going to have to, to some extent, appease before she gets the nomination. After that, of course, she'll be shocked, shocked to discover what an obnoxious leftwing nutball Hamsher & Co are, and run away with them . . .

. . . but for now, she's got to suck up to them, and this was a politically safe way to do it.

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg | April 27, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Even a "Sleuth" should credit sources properly - shouldn't there be quotes around your final gag in this post? Or at least a shout out to "Democratic strategist" Dan Gerstein?

Posted by: Scottir | April 27, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Your column should be called The Sloth. This is one of the laziest, most ill-informed, most unethical, pieces I have read in WaPo lately. And you have a lot of competition, what with the tripe served daily by the likes of Hiatt, Broder, Will, The Kraut, and The Kurtz.

Go check out FDL. Thank to them, the sentient public is kept well informed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers, this post says a lot more about you and your own journalistic biases and weaknesses than it does about Senator Clinton or Ms. Hamsher. That is, unless you are auditioning for the vacancy that no doubt will soon be available after David Broder's recent op-ed travesties. In that case, you are quite the sly operator.

Posted by: Chevy Chase, MD | April 27, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

LOL, I see the wingnut concern troll brigade made an appearance. Allow me to return the favor.

Of course, it is the reich-wing nut roots that Rudy (and Mitt, and McCain, and..) need to appease on abortion, gay rights, and the like before he gets the nomination. After that, of course, he'll be shocked, shocked! to discover what hateful desperate nutballs those rightwing orgnaizations are, and run away _from_ them...

Wow, it pretty much writes itself. Your job is easier than I thought.

Posted by: C. Huber | April 27, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

We shouldn't be surprised by this very unserious hit piece from former Roll Call gossip columnist and very unserious Mary Ann Akers. For a frame of reference, please note the following:

1. She once covered the Congress for the Washington Times.

2. She is engaged (or by now married) to long-time Bill Clinton basher and scandal-monger Michael Isikoff of Newsweek.

Need I say more?

Posted by: CityGirl | April 27, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

One of the ironies is that your column is entitled "The Sleuth" but just exactly what have you "detected" here in this "piece".

You apparently did not "detect" that Gerstein was a political operative for Joe Lieberman, both of whom have been roasted by FireDogLake on more than one occasion. BTW, were Gerstein's comments obtained in exchange for the free link/plug to his consulting business?

You apparently did not "detect" the hypocrisy of quoting someone like Gerstein, who admitted to and defended the content of a Lieberman campaign race-baiting flier used against Ned Lamont.

You (and Gerstein) apparently don't "detect" what an apt analogy" is. Comparing a satirical picture that Hamsher posted once with the slurs and insults Imus, who has had any number of polticians on his show, blathered for years as part of his act is NOT an apt analogy. Comparing Hamsher to faux reporter and gay male escort Gannon, who *somehow* attended White House press conferences and was repeatedly called on by Bush is NOT an apt analogy.

And if by some miracle you DID detect the above, how do you explain the content of your column?

I was going to suggest you rename your column "The Stenographer" but I'm pretty sure at the WaPo that tag has already been copyrighted.

Posted by: Steno Journalism | April 27, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Mary Ann Akers got paid 23% less for writing this than a man would have. It's probably not important...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Can someone please explain the Jeff Gannon crack to me?

Does Ms. Akers not know that Gannon is a Republican and embarrassment to the Bush White House? Does she know that the Gannon controversy was not that he was gay, but that he was a paid escort?

Why is she trying to associate Democrats with him?

Is it because Democrats believe gays should receive equal rights and that gay people should be able to be out without being the ridiculed? Is that the joke?

Posted by: Julie Anderson | April 27, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers:

Please promise not to do a follow-up log post where in you decry the heartless blog readers for attacking you. You are being called to task on a variety of journalistic and factual issues. And you started this by attacking. So please don't try to play the victim.

It is getting very old to have a smear presented with innuendo, half truths and tainted "sources", then when the smearer is called on it they play victim -- Poor me! they want me to be held up to a standard!-- and never address the issues called into question.

The original post was insulting enough to the readership in its disingenuousness, please don't compound that.

Posted by: Julie Anderson | April 27, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

How marvellously potent sloppy journamalism is!

I mean, Ms. Akers, when was the last time you got this size of audience? You should come and see what happens at the Lake: everything gets this much attention, and what's more, it's more informative.

Posted by: anwaya | April 27, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Firedoglake is far more mainstream and less offensive than, say, Rush Limbaugh. Does the Post raise questions about Republican candidates when they appear on Rush's show? No? Isn't the Post displaying right-wing media bias?

Posted by: Doug Muder | April 27, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"The Sloth." Now THAT is funny.

This is an obvious stenography excercise that may have worked 5 years ago, but which is exposed now as pitifully inadequate "reportage."

Earth to Akers: Dan Gerstein is no longer a Democrat. He doesn't even call himself that.

Posted by: Anthony Stevens | April 27, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Fine sleuthing work, Mary Ann.

What's next, a hard hitting expose on John Edwards manicure practices?

Posted by: Hank | April 27, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

What an awful example investigative reporting (if that's what "The Sleuth" is supposed to be). How do the Washington Post editors rationalize that a piece like this is worthy for publication? It's not even a good smear, let alone anything resembling journalism. See http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/04/27/akers for a thorough analysis of why.

Instead of Ms. Akers responding to these comments, I would like her editors to respond to the analysis mentioned above and to make a case for why they thought it was worthy of print. I just don't get how these fourth rate pieces get to press.

Posted by: pablonium | April 27, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Give me a break! I don't even like Hillary, but this is nothing but rank gossip unsupported by any substance. Try finding real stories once in a while!!!

Posted by: VermonterSteve | April 27, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Dear Ms. Akers,

I respectfully ask the following: Who are your sources? Have you in the past questioned the our government officials appearing on such questionable and biased venues as the Rush Limbaugh Show?

More importantly, what happens to our democracy when writers of talent and power such as yourself work merely to publicize some trivial controversy (i.e. how people may or may not perceive Ms. Clinton's statements on a fairly mainstream website) instead of examining the actual issues of this campaign?

This 'metareportage' is meaningless to those of us not in the beltway. Health care, however, means a great deal. Could you write about the issues? Could you assess your own objectivity? Are you yourself merely pronouncing what right-wing sources would want you to write, thus besmirching your own credibility and the credibility of the paper you represent?

I offer the above with respect as an American who needs good reporters like you to do their jobs. I've seen too many kids go to and die in Iraq to stand such nonsense as you write about here.

The press needs to stop spouting the right-wing talking points of the beltway elite and start doing its job for the American people.

I wish you the best.

Posted by: LBS | April 27, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

fine work, Senator Lieberman -- oops, I mean Mary Ann.

Posted by: chuck c | April 27, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Ms Akers,

Color me pickled tink that you have brought FDL to the attention of the readers of WAPO(print edition). FDL is the antithesis of surface skimming "write and rip" journalists. Anybody who spends a portion of an hour at FDL will understand the difference and will have a hard time tearing themselves away from well-written, thoughtful feuilletons, punny comments, live-blogs, newsmakers chats,etc.

I was disconcerted by the black face portrait of "Rape Gurney" Joe, but Jane has apologized.

The "Rape Gurney" moniker comes from Joe's own remark that rape victims refused entry by Connecticut hospitals can simply remain on the gurney as they are trundled to a nearby hospital, which Joe claims dot the landscape. Well reported by FDL, if nowhere else.

I also learned at FDL how the national NARAL people bollixed a possible filibuster of the last Supreme Court justice nomination, seemingly not comprehending the power of the cloture vote. Now I support the local NARAL organization, not the right wing enabling executives at the national level.

Stop by, Ms.Akers, you could learn a lot.

Posted by: shadrivers | April 27, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

It's not clear that Mr. Gerstein's opinion is at all relevant or in any way reflective of how Clinton's guest blogging will be viewed. I do admit that if you want a quote from someone willing to say something nasty about political bloggers, he's the go-to-guy for that.

Posted by: DeanC | April 27, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Weak Sources, Ms. Akers. I understand that your column serves mostly as a gossip forum, but I still don't understand why you would grant anonymity to a source for a gossip piece. It is gossip, after all, and I think that for any gossip to have merit, it must be qualified by exactly who is spreading it. Otherwise it's just hearsay and doesn't really count as 'journalism'. Think journalism on the level of the National Enquirer- that's whayt this comes off as without some qualifiers on your sources.

Posted by: Ktwdawg | April 27, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers, your attack piece has all the elements that remind me of exactly why I don't regularly read people like you. An unidentified Hillary backer and Dan Gerstein have a problem with FireDogLake. Jane Hamsher ran a photo of Lieberman that was in bad taste and was subsequently removed, with an apology. If you have any understanding of why her site is so popular with committed Democrats you sure hid it well in your attack.

You ignore the substance of what Hillary said, mischaracterize Gerstein as a Democrat (he's an independent) and former Lieberman spokesman (he's still employed by Lieberman). Real live Democrats don't give a rat's ass what Dan Gerstein says -- our instincts would be to do the opposite of what he says. It's hard to imagine America's political process getting any lower or more vacuous, but hacks like you seem to find a way. I'm looking forward to ignoring you for the rest of this campaign.

Posted by: catbirdman | April 27, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Dan Gerstien (still on Lieberman's payroll?) and a someone who wouldn't allow thier name to be used? Ms Akers are there ANY editors at the Washington Post?

Posted by: twheat | April 27, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers,

I will offer thanks: I've just bookmarked FDL, the 'edgy' publication. I never heard of it before today, but it seems to employ fine journalists.

I'm also feeling a bit more friendly to Ms. Clinton who I was not thinking of voting for prior to your piece. We need politicians with guts, and if Ms. Clinton gets critiqued by the anonymous beltway elites, then she has gained credibility.

Forgive any rancor in my words. My frustration lies not so much with you, but with the horrors done to this country in the past four years. Unfortunately, pieces such as yours were part of what created this horror.

I will keep reading your column, for I know you have the talent to look at the issues not the spin.

Posted by: LBS | April 27, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

There's no question that "Rape Gurney" Jane is smart, talented, and knows just what she's doing -- and Hillary, being even smarter, is taking full advantage of Ms. Hamsher's soapbox.

As to the excommunication of Dan Gerstein, color this independent amused. Y'all enjoy your circular firing squads even more than the Republicans do, dontcha?

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg | April 27, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

If you had done an iota of research, you would have found out that Gernstein has a personal agenda in sliming FireDogLake, and further he has a history of lying to the press. Tie yourself to his leaky boat at your own peril...

Posted by: flounder | April 27, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Greenwald said all that needs to be said about this:

salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/04/27/akers

Once again, Mary Ann Akers does dishonest gossip, libel, sliming and smearing -- and once again she does it on the side of the DC Republican establishment (which, yes, includes Lieberman).

The ethical and journalistic violations in this piece are simply staggering. That people like Akers keep their jobs at the Washington Post tells you all you need to know about this 'neo-con' newspaper (as even the Bush-adoring and not-so-bright Chris Matthews has noticed by now).

Posted by: mz | April 27, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait until you, Ms. Akers, are fired because this rag of a "newspaper" folds.

The end of beltway gasbags, you know, the pompus, spoiled, ignorant tools like yourself, Ms. Akers, can't come soon enough.

Enjoy the cocktail parties while they last!

The only thing Akers is Sleuthing for is invite to a party.

Posted by: different area codes | April 27, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

How embarrassing for Mary Ann to be completely taken in by a paid shill like Dan Gerstein. Shouldn't a journalist have recognized the transparent agenda behind Gerstein's attack on Jane Hamsher and FireDogLake? Shouldn't Akers have revealed Gersteins ongoing employment with blog-hater Joe Lieberman? Shouldn't Mary Ann's journalistic instincts have tipped her off to Gerstein's attempt to use her as nothing more than a vessel for a rightwing talking point?

Really, Mary Ann, how could you have permitted yourself to be used like this by a paid Lieberman shill?

Posted by: Thomas C | April 27, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann blogs about such lightweight topics it hardly seems fair to real journalists to put her in the same league.

Posted by: Substance and Truth | April 27, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

CityGirl -- thanks for the info. Didn't know that Akers was engaged/married to obsessive Clinton-basher Isikoff of Newsweek.

This little media-Republican DC-establishment social circle really is rotten to the core. They are completely out of touch with the country, drowning in a morass of incompetence, nepotism, corruption and conflicts of interest.

I don't think they'd be able to do any self-questioning even if they were forced to sit down and watch Moyers' documentary ten times in a row, alternating with raw footage of war casualties. Their souls are morally dead.

Posted by: mz | April 27, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

nothing to add beyond the other commenters above except to notch a vote of dismay at the crumminess of this "story". the loud response to this fakery perpetrated by Ms. Akers gives me hope, however...perhaps the echo chamber she's striving to amplify can be broken into and drowned out...

Posted by: garth | April 27, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I never knew Jane was involved with Natural Born Killers. But, I have to admit, I have never seen it. However, I read FDL daily (actually throughout the day) for their insightful coverage and analysis of what is happening. I think that used to be the role of the newspaper, but something seems to have happened there. Based on the care you took with your article and the depth and insightfulness of your analysis, I can see that the WP is grooming a replacement for Mr. Broder.

Posted by: Howard Appel | April 27, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann? Hello? You used Dan Gerstein or some other Liebermanic for a source for this? Bwahahahaha. God, what a wuss. That vicious Jane Hamsher and her poodles are such a danger, the dogs are probably commies. Much ado about nothing. Why do you waste space with junk like this. Oh right, it was easy, one phone call with nutcake and then you could just make stuff up.

Posted by: Rolfyboy6 | April 27, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Granting anonymity to people to spout little more than garden-variety political gossip is the sign of a reporter desperate to manufacture controversy in order to have something to write.

The only other source for Akers' sweeping claims is Joe Lieberman's personal consultant, Dan Gerstein, who receives attention only when he attacks liberal blogs, and therefore does it endlessly."

I would say the above quote sums it up...you are a hack!!

Posted by: drinksforall | April 27, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Way to not report on any of the substance of HRC's discussion with FDL and instead focus on the hurt feelings of an EX Democratic consultant. Is the mainstream press on a deliberate mission to make themselves irrelevant to genuine political discussions?

Posted by: beedee | April 27, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

My guess is, as a result of Clinton's guest blogging at FireDogLake, more "real" liberal Democrats will consider voting for her in the up-coming primaries.

Jane Hamsher and the others who post at FDL write about issues that we care about. That Clinton chose FDL shows that she recognizes FDL's passionate following.

The Washington Post, with a few important exceptions, seems to be positioning itself as the Capitol's Fox News, in print! (not that the Washington Times can be out-done)

Posted by: Johnny Lib | April 27, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, you lazy, incompetent, illiterate bimbo, Dan Gerstein is NOT A DEMOCRAT, and he does not represent the views of "many Democrats." He represents the views of the guy who PAYS HIM: Joe Lieberman, who isn't a Democrat either.

Perhaps you ought to review what you slept through in Journalism 101, which you can do here:

http://www.cjrdaily.org/politics/dan_gerstein_greg_sargent_and.php

Of course,why am I worrying about some moron who passes the IQ test low enough to become an employee of the Washington Post. You're right there where you belong, with that perveyor of 40 years of worthless baloney, David Broder.

Posted by: TCinLA | April 27, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

what an embarassing piece. Embarassing for Akers. I suggest you read Glenn Greenwald. And try an learn something about which you speak.

Posted by: an0n | April 27, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Jane Hamsher is one of the most respected people in the blogoshere."

LOL

Posted by: Jim Treacher | April 27, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing controversial about Hillary Clinton appearing on Firedoglake. Firedoglake is a well-respected, mainstream progressive website. Their coverage of the Libby trial put the so-called journalists at the Post to shame. Mary Akers has done nothing in the way of sleuthing here. She just answered calls from two sources, one anonymous (imaginary?) and the other a non-Democrat with a personal vendetta against left-wing blogs. Then her magic typing skills turned those two comments into conventional Democratic thinking. Ms. Akers should start working with Jeff Gannon herself, they seem to be soulmates.

Posted by: contrai1 | April 27, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Some "sleuthing," Mary Ann -- getting spoon-fed a non-scandal by Dan Gerstein, of all the non-Democratic hacks. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: Hermagoras | April 27, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Dan Gerstein? That's your example of a Democratic operative that's bad-mouthing Hillary's choice to speak to a blog that spent months slamming DANGERSTEIN? Mary Ann, once more the Post has proven that it is either completely boggled by the blog revolution, or else completely terrified of it.

And as a side note, FDL is most known for SCOOPING THE MSM during the Libby trial by live-blogging the whole thing.

Posted by: lieinveigleobfuscate | April 27, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another Washington Post writer retailing the Republicans' talking points for them. Ho hum.

Posted by: JHM | April 27, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

why don't you have the guts to respond to Greenwald? If you want to be in the blogosphere, that's what you do. step up to the plate and defend your lazy reporting.

Posted by: davidr | April 27, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I notice Ms. Akers isn't sticking around to respond to any of the legitimate criticism of her obvious hackery, her unsourced attack lines and her shallow ignorance of the substance of Ms. Clinton's conversation. And I'm not even a Clinton fan.

What's become of the Washington Post? Katherine Graham has rolled over in her grave so many times, she must have worn a hole in her casket by now ...

Thank God for FDL, we don't need Akers or the Post anymore. Perhaps that's why she's so angry. What's the matter, Mary Ann, tired of having to compete with the smart(er) folks on the blogs? The days of worthless, self-annointed punditry are, thankfully, over.

Posted by: mateosf | April 27, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I trust Firedoglake.
I don't trust the Washington Post.

Posted by: Bloix | April 27, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann, You made Guilford alums and students weep. Don't simply take dictation from Dan Gerstein. Shame, shame.

Posted by: Sneakypie | April 27, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Dan Gerstein? You mean the same Dan Gerstein who HATES Fireddoglake and toher online netroots sites? The same Dan Gerstein with an obvious axe to grind agsint Firedoglake because he STILL WORKS FOR JOE LIEBERMAN?

Are you dumb or just doing a hatchet job on Dems for some reason? This is sleazy journalism.

Columbia Journalism Review agrees...
http://www.cjrdaily.org/politics/dan_gerstein_greg_sargent_and.php

"Alliteration aside, the piece shouldn't come as much of a surprise, since Gerstein has been involved in a long flame war with the liberal blogosphere, or what he called in the Wall Street Journal the Democratic party's "angry activist base," back in January 2006."

First the Broder hatchet job. Now this. Screw the Washington Post. I despise your paper for being such lying shills for the Republicans. Yuo have no ethics.

Posted by: Andy O | April 27, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed the title of this blog:
"THE SLEUTH"

Ha-ha! How about:
"THE PLAYED"

You should have "sleuthed" Dan Gerstein's long-running hatred of the netroots and Firedoglake in particular.

Take dictation much?

p.s. Candidates should talk to Americans of all types in many ways.

Posted by: Andy O | April 27, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Ah, when the puppies write!

Posted by: stevief | April 27, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Looks like this column backfired on you.

Gerstein still a part of the Lieberman team. Lieberman is no longer a Demodrat. And Gerstein is not representative of all democrats.

As Moyers said the other night, Journalists are lazy and don't investigate before they print a story.

Posted by: toniD | April 27, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

hey - well done, akers! I see you're another shill for the GOP.

real journalists vet their sources, btw.

mainstream media, indeed!

Posted by: jolie | April 27, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

You seem to forget one thing, the blogs from the netroots are growing. The people commenting on the blog are increasing. And these people are more likely to vote.

So If I were running for office, you better damn well believe that I would do what Sen. Clinton did.

Posted by: toniD | April 27, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Greenwald? Glenn "Ellison" Greenwald? Glenn "Ellensberg" Greenwald? Glenn "Ellers" Greenwald? Are you actually suggesting that THAT Glenn Greenwald "said all that needs to be said" about anything?

Next thing you'll be suggesting that Nancy Grace said all that is to be said on the Duke Rape Hoax . . .

Or, as, Ellison/Ellers/Ellensberg/Greenwald might say, to recap . .

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg | April 27, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

More bogus garbage from the WaPo "reporters." Wouldn't a real reporter get both sides of the story b4 posting?

Posted by: JoyousMinn | April 27, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I see. So FDL is racist, yet when Cheney goes on Sean inSanity or Rush "Pills" Limbaugh show, that's not an issue -- is that about right, is that what you're say, you amateur, Akers?

Posted by: Parakeeta | April 27, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The Gannon crack is incoherent and the entire article is a pathetic attempt to kick up controversy where none exists. Beltway mendacity at its finest.

But I'm sure Mrs. Akers thinks she's a fantastic journalist -- and that's the problem.

Posted by: temperance | April 27, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers: How DARE you equate white house call boy Guckert with a real journalist (look it up) like Jane Hamsher! Was this just to deflect the shame of the beating WaPo took on Moyers show the other night. Shame on you. Hack.

Posted by: Edmonton, Canada | April 27, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers, for shame!

You have been badly played, and left holding the bag by Gerstein, one of Lieberman's hacks.

But I don't feel sorry for you. You should have known better.

As a "journalist", as a woman you of all people should know Jane Hamsher is an example to us all, a cancer survivor who cares more for her country, her Constitution, and her integrity than probably anyone you know.

Her work on the Plame affair and the Libby trial is a model, an example for all citizen journalists. Her blog is probably the most read and respected female-owned blog on the Web.

Your hit piece on Hillary is straight out of the Schmidt-Dowd school of snarky, ill-sourced, ill-researched stenographer opinion "journalism", and you should be ashamed of yourself. It's almost Coulter-column level, for God's sake.

You have certainly lost whatever credibility you had left with me, and probably with the majority of Americans forever.

Posted by: Ed Johnson | April 27, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"Democratic activists in various corners"?; and you granted anonymity? You do your readers, and yourself as a journalist, a disservice by printing this garbage masquerading as journalism.

Posted by: David | April 27, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers -

Welcome to the lunatic fringe of the left -- it's like the Jerry Springer Show for vegan socialists. For what it's worth, I like the article.

To those of you critical of the article, I have a suggestion for how you can make your points more impactful: exclamation points. Oh, and USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS WORKS WELL TOO!!!!!!!

Posted by: JudeanPeoplesFront | April 27, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"she covered Congress for The Washington Times"


Mooney Times?

Nuff Said.

Posted by: Tim O. | April 27, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me is that an obviously transparent attempt to manipulate a WaPo writer manages to find a willing rube. Are you guys idiots, or are you just inclined to let your friends use your access to the WaPo readership to further their slimeball agendas?

Posted by: michael moss | April 27, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

It is good when there is no pay discrimination. It is much better when such obvious fakes as hillary Clinton have enough shame and basic common sense to step into shadow after her deeds, actions, and records of votes were and are in full and complete controversy to EVERYTHING, she is trying to preach now.

Posted by: aepelbaum | April 27, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Akers -

Welcome to your savior, JudeanPeoplesFront. Your increadible "sleuthing" -- calling up Dan Gerstein and getting him to take his 100th cheap shot at FDL -- is too transparent and pathetic to support on the facts. And he can't refute the comments on their merits. So he simply labels all of it "the lunatic fringe of the left" and adds some tired, ineffectual snark of his own.

You, Dan Gerstein, an unnamed Hillary supporter, and JudeanPeoplesFront deserve each other. Good luck with that.

Posted by: catbirdman | April 27, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

This woman has been pro all wars of last fifteen years. At first, as a presidential wife, who was convincing her husband to bomb yougoslavia in both of outbreaks: Bosnia and Kosovo, hen, as senator and member of arm committee, whose votes pro war were even worse than McCain's, and the latter one is well known war's supporter. She is a known racist, I am a resident of Illinois where her long lasting association with White Supremasists are of no secret. The woman is a complete fake and a very dangerous one.

Posted by: aepelbaum | April 27, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is taking in consideration the poll of the day, she is changing her mind on all issues, except of her own survival and her political promotion with almost the speed of light. I wonder who and why would want such political leader, even, if the history of her actions and records of her votes, both very unfavorable to her today's points of view on issues are fully out of consideration. Who in right mind could want Hillary and why are really serious questions for me.

Posted by: aepelbaum | April 27, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Gerstein's gossip isn't worthy of publication. Your write-up isn't bad at all, but if Gerstein is squawking about something, usually it's a sign that it's not worth spending time on.

Posted by: TM | April 27, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The Dan Gerstein sham
(updated below)
On Tuesday of this week, Hillary Clinton wrote for a post for FireDogLake regarding a bill she has sponsored in Congress, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is designed to "toughen the penalties for violating the Equal Pay Act." Clinton then participated in the comment section of the post, responding to questions and comments from FDL's bloggers and readers.
The following day, The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers, wrote a piece claiming that Clinton's posting at FDL "is raising a few eyebrows in Democratic political circles." This is so, she asserts, because "in Democratic political circles [Jane] Hamsher is better known as the author of a racially offensive attack against Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)." Akers then "reports" this:
A day after Clinton's post appeared on firedoglake.com, Democratic activists in various corners privately questioned the wisdom of the Clinton campaign in choosing to write for a blog associated with Hamsher.
Who are the "Democratic activists in various corners" complaining? She cites a grand total of two people -- one who is a "Hillary backer" who cowardly agreed to express these views only anonymously. Why grant anonymity to someone like this to do nothing more than express some sort of run-of-the-mill political criticism? Why deprive readers of knowing who that person is, to assess their importance, influence and credibility? Granting anonymity to people to spout little more than garden-variety political gossip is the sign of a reporter desperate to manufacture controversy in order to have something to write.
The only other source for Akers' sweeping claims is Joe Lieberman's personal consultant, Dan Gerstein, who receives attention only when he attacks liberal blogs, and therefore does it endlessly. Gerstein's candidate -- against whom FDL campaigned tirelessly, which just might explain his anti-FDL remarks -- is so unrepresentative of "Democrats" that his candidate was booted out of the party by his own state despite being a three-term incumbant Senator.
Predictably, the "controversy" manufactured by Akers has begun to spread. It is being touted by various gossip columnists and right-wing hacks. Now, suddenly, according this lowly chatter, Hillary is in trouble because she involved herself with FDL.
This is nothing more than the classic Fox News method at work, and it is used continuously to manufacture non-existent scandals. They find some disgruntled, neoconservative figure calling him or herself a "Democrat" -- a Tammy Bruce or Kirsten Powers or Lanny Davis -- to spout all sorts of angry criticisms towards other Democrats. Notwithstanding the fact that such individuals represent exactly nobody and are complete anomalies among Democrats (which is precisely why they're chosen), their single individualized views are then generalized to "many Democrats" or even just "Democrats" -- as in "Democratic activists in various corners privately questioned the wisdom of the Clinton campaign in choosing to write for a blog associated with Hamsher."
Dan Gerstein -- as a result of the work done by liberal blogs to defeat his career mentor, Joe Lieberman -- has transformed himself into a free-floating, embittered figure who devotes his public commentary almost exclusively to criticizing liberal blogs. Obviously, that is his prerogative. But when he does that, he is not speaking for "Democrats" or "many Democrats" or "Democratic political circles."
In fact, Gerstein is almost always seen doing nothing other than attacking Democrats and liberals, and -- unlike lazy journalists wanting to hold him up as representative of "Democratic circles" -- even Gerstein apparently does not identify himself as a "Democrat" at all. This is from his WSJ attack piece on the "obnoxious attitude of Democratic elites": "Mr. Gerstein, an independent consultant, was communications director for Joe Lieberman and a senior strategist for his presidential campaign."
Worse, Gerstein continues to be paid by Lieberman. When it comes to Gerstein's criticisms of liberal blogs, that is an obviously crucial fact which Akers -- just as by The Politico did when trying to create an anti-blog controversy in reliance on Gerstein -- inexcusably concealed from her readers. Akers (just as The Politico did) even misleadingly referred to Gerstein as "a former Lieberman spokesman."
Gerstein speaks only for himself (and Lieberman). He is so far outside of what mainstream Democrats believe that the candidate with whom he is -- by far -- most associated is not even a Democrat at all. Why would Gerstein's rantings possibly be attributed to "Democrats" or "Democratic political circles" generally?
This is to say nothing of the inane notion that there is something "controversial" about Clinton's appearance at FDL. Has Akers noticed that one of the President and Vice President's favorite venues for appearing and chatting amicably is The Rush Limbaugh Show, and that among their favorite "interviewers" is Sean Hannity? And virtually all Republican candidates make themselves available to the most extremist right-wing blogs.
By contrast, FDL is one of the most accomplished and widely respected political blogs in the country, with a daily readership of 100,000 or so highly committed Democratic activists and voters. What ought to be "controversial" is if Hillary Clinton and other candidates fail to appear in such venues to answer questions, not when they do. The day after Clinton appeared, John Kerry posted at FDL and then participated in comments as well, as have scores of the most prominent Democrats and liberal activists over the last year.
What much of this is about is a rank, transparent effort to make liberal blogs radioactive to candidates. Journalists like Akers are threatened by the fact that candidates can communicate directly with large numbers of voters without having to go through Washington Post reporters. So they manufacture blog "controversies" by seeking out completely unrepresentative aberrations like Dan Gerstein and pretend that their individual comments are representative of large factions. In reality, people like Gerstein are totally irrelevant figures who represent literally nobody (except, in Gerstein's case, non-Democrat Joe Lieberman).
Any stories about alleged "blog controversies" that rely upon Dan Gerstein as a key source are inherently unreliable and worthless. Dan Gerstein hates blogs. That is his identity. It is how he attracts attention. Whenever he criticizes blogs, it is not a story. It does not signify anything other than this.
More significantly still, Gerstein hates blogs because blogs defeated his mentor in the Connecticut primary and continuously criticized Gerstein himself. So not only are Gerstein's anti-blog views aberrational, they are also the by-product of his own personal vendetta, not any thought-out ideas or beliefs. Basing anti-blog stories on comments from Dan Gerstein would be like writing a negative profile of Patrick Fitzgerald based on interviews done with Lewis Libby and his lawyers.
FDL has a readership of 100,000 highly active, mainstream Democrats. Dan Gerstein has a constituency of one neoconservative non-Democratic warmonger Senator. When the latter criticizes the former, it signifies many, many things. But how "Democrats" or "Democratic political circles" think is not one of them.

UPDATE: After TPM's Greg Sargent, in the above-linked posts, wrote about The Politico's breach of journalistic principles (by offering up Gerstein's anti-blog commentary without disclosing that he is still a paid advisor to Lieberman), Columbia Journalism Review's Paul McLeary wrote a comprehensive piece explaining why the most basic and well-known precepts of journalistic ethics compel disclosure of Gerstein's ongoing ties to Lieberman, and why such ties are critical in assessing the "credibility" of Gerstein's obvious quite personal obsession with liberal blogs.
It's astounding that such matters even need to be explained. Perhaps Akers -- and any other journalists who want to write anti-blog stories with Gerstein as their source -- ought to read that article to see what type of "source" Gerstein is.
-- Glenn Greenwald

Posted by: Glenn Greenwald | April 27, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, how vicious are the lefties. Why don't you people try some civility in your comments? Personal attacks on Ms. Akers are out of line. Why don't you learn how to debate with intelligence and courtesy?

Posted by: Washington Dame | April 27, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

"One Democratic strategist who was happy to speak publicly was Dan Gerstein"

Isn't he always happy to speak publicly?

Posted by: shingles | April 28, 2007 1:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Washington Dame that Akers deserves civility, though please let's not kid ourselves. You simply cannot ascribe these comments to either left or right as there is no verification process.

So just stuff that argument in the bag labled "Democrat Outrages to Be Trotted Out by Us Republicans to Argue Moral Equivalency So We Can Listen to Rush Limbaugh." Akers was wrong to source this story as feebly as she did. Are standards in journalism amoral because "lefties" value them? And yet Republicans cry for bipartisanship. Go figure.

Posted by: jf | April 28, 2007 2:16 AM | Report abuse

"Your hit piece on Hillary is straight out of the Schmidt-Dowd school of snarky, ill-sourced, ill-researched stenographer opinion "journalism", and you should be ashamed of yourself. It's almost Coulter-column level, for God's sake."

Indeed.

Posted by: killinginthenameof | April 28, 2007 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Answers, MaryAnn? Any answers to the many questions posed here? These aren't comments about an opinion piece by somebody in the WaPo print edition, Akers, these are blog comments.

Net-Etiquette demands you review the questions raised here and at linked blogs, then craft a response. In the case of journamalizm, standards dictate a correction and apology for not telling your readers if you contacted the subject of the article.

We eagerly await your response.

Posted by: teddy94110 | April 28, 2007 3:29 AM | Report abuse

We do not need to cast wild-cat sentiments that have no base.

There is this wild-beast insinuating that Clinton is in the same leage with Don Imus. This dude never took time to analyze what Hillary said about equal pay. And how is Jane Hamsher exactly in the same category as Don Imus?

Does she lace her website daily with abuse and bullying put downs? Has she got a long trail of racist and sexist remarks?

Of course not. So, gasp, she made one gaffe which she apologized for.

Give us a break with these dangerous insinuations. They are dishonest and dispicable.

Posted by: Herbert-Jean Awuor | April 28, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

You mention in your article that HRC blogging has raised eyebrows in some democrat circles.

You then mention the two sources: 1)Dan Gerstein who despises liberal blogs and works for Lieberman as an "independent consultant" and 2)an anonymous source. In the democrat circles I travel in this is a non-issue.

Dan Gerstein's primary reason for living right now is to be called upon to go off on liberal blogs because firedoglake was the liberal blog that spearheaded the democrat primary in CT. that caused Lieberman to lose. What was Lanny Davis not available? Dan Gerstein is not an accurate barometer to judge what democrat circles are "thinking". He is a disgruntled, angry man who surfaces to go off on liberal blogs because they caused Lieberman's loss in the democrat primary.

Why don't you actually do some real reporting and identify who Gerstein is actively working for (Lieberman) and his past comments regarding liberal blogs.

But you have done your job. Now this will be played on conservative websites, Rush Druglaugh and Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin.

Next time speak to real democrats in "democrat circles" and gather their feedback rather than a tired old hack.

Posted by: lee | April 28, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Ooopsie, it looks as if Ms. Akers has done some late editing by adding the following to her introduction of Dangerstein:

"(And to clarify for Sleuth readers who have questioned Gerstein's relationship with Lieberman, Gerstein indeed remains a paid adviser to Lieberman.)"

Ummm, that wouldn't be a clarification. It's really a complete refutation of the description of Gerstein as "a former Lieberman spokesman" in the immediately preceeding sentence based on the comments of readers who didn't just question it but who actually did some RESEARCH and stated it as FACT.

Don't you just hate blogs and blog readers?

Oh, the link I attempted to post to Lieberman's race-baiting flyer didn't go through in my last comment. Let's see if this works:

http://connecticutblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/liebermans-shameless-race-baiting.html

Yes, who would know more about "baggage" and "hypocrisy" than Dangerstein? Except his own...

Posted by: Steno Journalism | April 28, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Judging form these comments the your article must have been linked on Firedoglake so their 487 readers could comment. Few in thsi country have heard of them, or the daily Kos, or other blogs. Since pretty boy Edwards is leading the straw poll at the daily kos, Hillary should just let him have the nut roots. They are a small, but overly self important, far left, fringe who will not decide the election. This ones gonna be right in the middle folks.

Posted by: Wow | April 29, 2007 7:08 AM | Report abuse

You know what would be a good story-- where the heck you get these stories. Some anonymous campaign staffer for another campaign mutters to you, and the famous Dan Gerstein, who works for Bush-backer Joe Lieberman, gives away his expert Web info (irony alert-- you might not know it, but he's famous mostly because he accused the other side of hacking into L's website, when it turned out the campaign had only paid for the cheapest site available and it just crashed). And you hop right to it and say that "Democrats" are uneasy.

I just can't understand you Washington reporters. Every time, you fall for the spin. It's amazing. You come across as more naive than a pre-teener. "You have a bridge to sell? To Brooklyn? Awesome! I want it!"

And btw, I thought the Post had rules about anonymous sources. But you don't seem to see that reporting gossip that came from a rival campaign requires attribution. Well, actually, most of us would have sense enough not to pretend that was a story in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

what's the beef. vote for hillary & you get two for one. Her husband is better that the one we have now. the money he had in place is spent with the war now

Posted by: pj | April 30, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't you name anyone but Dangerstein? Is it because you are making crap up?

Posted by: merlallen | May 1, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

"pretty boy Edwards" is a self-made millionaire, who knows what middle-class is all about.

Judging from your derogatory wording there buddy, I'd say unfortunately I cannot say the same thing for the boys in your camp.

privileged, wealthy, and still whiny as the day they were born. I'll take "pretty, hard-working, and self-made" anyday over dudes who had their food fed to them in a silver spoon by a nanny for all of their lives.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Wow.

Hillary '08

Posted by: destardi | May 2, 2007 4:11 AM | Report abuse

Could somebody explain why Hilary Clinton would be accused of hypocrisy for posting an entry in Firedoglake blog ?

Posted by: Bigsky | May 2, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

You understand that gerstein is still paid employee of joe lieberman de-facto republican-Ct. Nice what hiatt has done to this paper and it's onlinr addition, turned it into a outlet for republican talking points.

Posted by: klyde | May 2, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

While you had Dan Gerstein on the phone (and his high horse) did you ask him about his hysterical claims that Joe Lieberman's web site was hacked on election night?

He was proven wrong on that, to no surprise by anybody with an ounce of experience in maintaining a web site.

http://empirezone.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/12/21/joes-aide-responds-on-web-site-case/

So, I would imagine you would be skeptical of his credibility when he talked to you about anything relating to blogging.

Weren't you?

Posted by: DB | May 2, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to suggest that the Washington Post hire Jane Hamsher as a replacement for Mary Ann Akers. At least that way this blog might be worth reading.

Posted by: David | May 2, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to suggest that the Washington Post hire Jane Hamsher as a replacement for Mary Ann Akers. At least that way this blog might be worth reading.

Posted by: David | May 2, 2007 08:43 PM

I agree. What a sweet little hack you are Mary Ann. Jane Hamsher is an astonishing woman. The quality of reporting done at FDL is something Mary Ann is not seeking.

It looks like Mary Ann is part of the next generation of reporters desperate to become part of the pool of white house stenographers and go to some really great parties.

Wonderfully done WaPo. You're getting a jump on the NYT by hiring the next generation of Judith Millers.

Posted by: Steve G | May 2, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to put forward the notions that:

1) The only people who were offended by the SATIRICAL blackface incident were conservatives like Malkin or shills like Gerstein who's client was savaged by that site.

2) They didn't really give a poop it was just politically expedient for them.

3) You are another fool in a long line of fools that mindlessly parrot false or meaningless incidents that the right screams out into the echo chamber.

Posted by: erik28com | May 3, 2007 3:03 AM | Report abuse

This story is in need of some comic relief.

Here's a joke: The Washington Post

Get it. I don't, and the only reason I'm even here is to comment that your article and paper are not worth reading.

The people who need to be rightfully ashamed, are the ones who put on Blackface i.e. Joe the good minion Leiberman.

Mary Ann, Jane's not only got you way outclassed, she puts to shame the entire hollow, water carrying pail that is the Washington Post.

Posted by: underdog | May 3, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Please, Dan Gerstein is the original concern troll. Including his comments blows any shred of your credibility out of the water. This is a non-story.

Posted by: Groovymarlin | May 3, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

This is like writing a story from facts heard 'round the water cooler. Firedoglake.com was probably the perfect blog for Clinton to do this.

This story smells rotten.

Posted by: MidwestLiberal | May 3, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The majority of the comments on this post are ridiculous. Even though the FireDogLake regulars may choose to remain unaware of why so many people have a problem with Clinton's guest-blog, those reasons still exist. The racist rants of David "T-Rex" Ferguson, Hamsher's completely disgusting and unprofessional responses to those progressives who dare to criticize her positions...Need I go on?

Clinton definitely sealed the deal with a lot of potential supporters by this latest move of her's but it's probably not in the way that she wanted. When she and her husband held the liberal blogger's luncheon in Harlem back in September of last year, many of us in the blogosphere pointed out the quite conspicuous fact that there were absolutely no people of color or people with disabilities to be found at the event. Peter Daou, who organized the event for them, claimed that this was just the first of many such events some were willing to give the Clintons the benefit of the doubt. However, this never materialized and now, to top it all off, she goes and allies herself with the most blatantly racist elements of the democratic blogosphere.

I have to wonder, what does her campaign think this says to the more intellectual and/or informed Democratic bloggers? Did FireDogLake's support help Ned Lamont? That blackface picture is simply the one that got the most attention from the media; It's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ethnocentric, racist, and crude posts on FireDogLake.

As a feminist, I so wanted to see an intelligent woman like Clinton in the presidency. With regards to the Clinton couple, she is, in my opinion, the smarter of the two. However, being smart does not mean that you are concerned with the interests of people of color or people with disabilities. If the elections were held today, I see no reason to prefer Clinton above the other Democratic hopefuls.

Ignoring minority groups might not have made much of a difference in former races for the democratic nomination. However, with the presence and popularity of Barack Obama, she can ill afford to disregard them. Decisions like this one may well cost her a sizable chunk of voters. In fact, given her actions, I think she may well deserve to lose them to Obama.

Posted by: bint alshamsa | May 7, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I think it's important to point oiut Firedog Lake has gone from a useful blog to a cult of personality. The reaction against Akers, even if she's a gooper shill, is so shrill, so hysterical, so to be rendered comical.

Jane Hamster banned several people from commenting at FDL after she was challenged by several progressive readers, who said she booted the ball by restricting questions to Hillary's hand-picked topic.

She got angry, then she got childish, then she had a meltdown Joan Crawford would have been proud of. Instead of debating the issue, she retreated into lame feminist rhetoric, and simply became hysterical with it.

Whatever credibility she may have had, anyone capable of independent thought who saw that little outburst, pretty much withdrew any credence lent.

Jane Hamster is happiest when she's surrounded by drooling acolytes and sycophants who scream "Yes, Jane! You were RIGHT!" whenever the Hamster whines "I was right, wasn't I?

She's about as much a serious journalist as Judith Miller and she's equallty dedicated to the truth.

Posted by: Former FDLer | May 10, 2007 1:20 AM | Report abuse

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