New Look for Live Online

A new home for our Live Discussions launched this week. There you can find discussions with regular hosts, such as Carolyn Hax, Gene Weingarten, Michael Wilbon and Sally Squires. You can also find discussions with a number of Washington Post reporters, various authors, experts on topics ranging from parenting to health to world affairs and more.

The top half of the section front now makes it possible for you to more easily find all current Live Online content: Recent discussion transcripts, Live and Upcoming discussions.

If you're looking for last week's discussions with your favorite hosts, you can search for them by name in the "Find it Now" box at the top.

What's happening today? Check out the "Today's Live Discussions" schedule.

What about later this week or next? See the "Upcoming Discussions" box and our "Weekly Schedule."

We have a brand new "Sneak Peek" box below the schedules that rotates quotes from current Live discussions so you can get a real sneak peek into what's being talked about at that moment.

Below that you'll find highlighted features, including our new "Catching Up With Series ..." where we have names from yesteryear online to "catch up" with you about their lives and careers (past guests have included Barry Manilow and Jack Klugman, for instance).

You will also find a "Feedback" box stripped along the bottom of the page, so you can read our Live Online FAQ or send us a question.

Overall, you should find more Live Online content featured more prominently on the section front, better organization of content and use of photos with the intent to make the section both more user friendly and visually appealing.

Katie McLeod
Producer, Live Online

By Editors |  April 27, 2006; 11:58 AM ET  | Category:  Content
Previous: News Search Launch | Next: A New Legal Blog Launches


Please email us to report offensive comments.

What is this Live Online stuff?

I came here to buy an Ipod. Can anyone direct me to an Ipod?

Posted by: LM | April 27, 2006 02:26 PM

I love the live online chats! Could you please try to get some of the editorial staff to join in? It's frustrating (but understandable) to see the reporting side of the paper talking about the division between reporting and editorial but never have the chance to ask questions about the editorials. Thanks for all of the great chats! Oh, and thanks for the new preview feature, too.

Posted by: a fan | April 27, 2006 03:01 PM

Ik houd zo van die online praatjes met dat zeer sexy en knappe Dana Milbank. Hij keek zo zeer goed in onze nationale kleuren. Het zou goed zijn als hij sommige hoofdartikelen kon ook schrijven. Hij kon zeker doen dan beter die dwaas Fred Hiatt die zelfs zijn eigen krant niet leest!

Posted by: Queen Beatrix | April 27, 2006 03:09 PM


Will James Brady or Deborah Howell be taking part in the Live Online discussions? To start the ball rolling, here's a question that I would ask Mr. Brady:

Mr. Brady, what do you see the role of comments being on the It seems like a lot of commenters write in with questions, criticisms, suggestions, and comments. This reader input is then completely ignored by anyone at the What's the point of having comments if you just plan to ignore them?

Posted by: Beth | April 27, 2006 03:09 PM

Did Bob Woodward really lie to the Post about his involvement in the Valerie Plame affair? Is the Post in any kind of legal jeapardy because of this? What is Bob Woodward's current employment status?

Posted by: emery johnson | April 27, 2006 04:08 PM

originally by p. lukasiak --

There are excellent reasons why the Post is extremely unhappy with Woodward right now.

First and foremost, his story makes no sense. And what "sense" it does make, implicates Woodward (and, by extension, the Post) in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

First, why Woodward's story makes no sense.

1) Woodward claims that he was told about "Wilson's wife" before anyone else.
2) Woodward claims that he told Pincus immediately, but didn't tell Downie at that point.
3) Woodward knows that Pincus has an obligation to tell Downie (and the Post lawyers) everything he knows about the "Plame" story, especially given that Pincus was subpoenaed and the Post's lawyers negotiated the terms under which Pincus was eventually deposed by Fitzgerald
4) Thus, Woodward has to have assumed that Pincus had told Downie that Woodward had told Pincus about "Wilson's wife", and that there was no reason for Woodward to have kept it a secret from Downie until October 24th.
5) When Woodward went public with his "I told Pincus" story, Pincus denied it.
6) When Woodward was questioned about telling Pincus, he said that he told Pincus while he was passing Pincus's desk, and Pincus said "What?", which Woodward took to mean "That's interesting". Woodward also said that was the full extent of the conversation
7) Woodward later admitted that "What?" could have meant "I didn't hear what you said."

Conclusion - Woodward never told Pincus what he claims he told Pincus. If Woodward believed that Pincus knew, he would not have kept the info from Downie. Pincus had no reason to hide from Downie the fact that Woodward had told him about "Wilson's wife", he denied ever being told about "Wilson's wife" by Woodward, and Woodward's "explanation" was not merely incredibly lame, but was eventually retracted.

Next, lets deal with the "obstruction of justice" question.

1) Woodward claimed that he went to his source on a number of occasions and reminded his source of their conversation, and suggested that his source tell the special prosecutor.
2) Woodward claims that his source repeatedly ignored Woodward's urgings to tell the story to Fitzgerald -
3) Thus, (assuming Woodward's source was someone who had been questioned by the FBI and/or testified under oath) Woodward literally conspired with his source to keep information material to a federal grand jury investigation from that grand jury.

Especially given Woodward's role as an editor of the Post, and the involvement of the Post's lawyers in the Pincus negotiations, this puts the Post in a really bad position -- not only did one of their supervisory personnel conspire to keep material information from the Special Prosecutor, he did so while the Post was negotiating the terms under which a Post reporter would be allowed to be deposed under super "special" circumstances.


Then, there is the whole question of the timing of Woodward's involvement. In the month before the grand jury was to expire, there were tons of reports about all sorts of people being indicted by Fitzgerald. Woodward, who had shown no interest in the story until that point, suddenly decides he wants to "report" on it for the Post.

So Woodward starts investigating....and comes up with a story so big that he has to go on October 24th to Downie and tell him about being told about "Wilson's wife" very early on. But, even though Woodward had this huge story - a story so big that he has to disclose to Downie the secret he'd been keeping for two years -- Woodward never publishes that story. Moreover, on October 27(?), when he shows up on TV and is asked about the rumors that he has a "bombshell" story that is coming about about the Plame affair, he denies it---and around the same time says that the whole "Plamegate" thing is just a molehill being made into a mountain.

So, what happened to Woodward's scoop that was so big that he had to go to Downie with the "I heard about Wilson's wife first and told Pincus" story?


Here's the thing that most people don't yet understand. FitzG let Pincus be deposed under very "special" arrangements (like not having to actually name his source) based on promises that Pincus and the Post were operating in good faith. Doubtless, one of the questions that were resolved during the negotiations and/or deposition was that Pincus first heard about Wilson's wife from his "White House source." So, when Bob Woodward shows up on October 24.(four days before the grand jury is about to expire) and tells Len Downie "I told Walter Pincus about Wilson's wife long before he heard about it from his government source", all hell broke out at the Post.

The first thing that would have happened is that the Post would have told FitzG that that the reliability of Pincus's testimony had been drawn into serious question by Bob Woodward, one of the Post's editors -- and that would have happened immediately---the Post had to notify FitzG that there were questions about Pincus's testimony before FitzG cited Pincus in an indictment.

So, with days left before the Grand Jury was about to expire, FitzG is confronted with information that one of his key witnesses may have lied under oath. Since he didn't have time to figure out what the hell had happened, he did the only thing he could do--- create indictments without ever referring to Pincus's testimony. And THAT is why Libby is the only person who was indicted....

Of course, FitzG is pissed, and is now demanding that the Post demonstrate its good faith by turning over all of Woodwards notes having to do with his "investigation" of Plamegate -- and because of the whole "obstruction of justice" charge hanging over Woodward, the Post is more than willing to comply.

But Woodward isn't. Which is why Cindy Adams is reporting that Woodward may be out at the Post.

Posted by: catwaterpond | April 27, 2006 04:15 PM


Fire Woodward and hire p. lukasiak.

Posted by: FeDupLiars | April 27, 2006 04:30 PM

The Washington Post Publisher Carolyn Little stated on this blog: "This is the first in a series of periodic conversations I'll be starting with our readers. Perhaps regularly. More likely, I'll write when I have something interesting to say. (Or at least when I think I have something interesting to say.)"

She then never followed up with any of the comments people left for her on the blog. My theory is that she either:

A. Does not understand what the word "conversation" means.
B. Has nothing interesting to say.
C. Was pandering, insulting, and talking down to her readers.

Posted by: Anton Dupris | April 27, 2006 05:02 PM

I'm still waiting on my confidential source ("Fine Ass") to meet me in an underground garage to give me the scoop on Bob Woodward, Fred Hiatt, Jim Brady, Deborah Howell, Howie Kurtz and all the other shills that currently collaborate with the Bush administration.

If you're reading this "Plush" meet me later at 2am. You know the place.

P.S. This comment thread is done. Stick a fork in it and catch those lights, will ya.

Posted by: Philip | April 27, 2006 11:24 PM

New Post post.

Same old same old absentee landlord.

Moving in. Setting up shop. Hanging the prints and setting up the expresso machine. I brought doughnuts, but just for opening day.

First order of business. Your nominations for replacements for the following positions at the Post:

Executive editor, -- smafdy

Post Ombudsman - Jane Hamsher

Media Reporter - Cujo359

Sr. Editor and Investigative Reporter -- p.lukasiak

Editor of the Editorial Page -- whoever wrote "A Bad Leak" for the eitorial page at the NY Times.

Posted by: AJ | April 28, 2006 09:35 AM

Howie, Howie, Howie,

You write papagraph after paragraph on blogging in today's column -- and never mention the debacle that is the Post blog?

Disingenuous much?

That was a very silly column by the way.

Silly on the whole idea that you needed something to write about so you settled on blogging.

Silly comment on well-crafted writing.

Silly comment on "elevating analysis" over gathering the facts.

Start navel-gazing Howie -- start looking at your own paper before you point the fingers.

Your paper has screwed up both the facts (on Abramoff and the Democrats to name just one thing) and the analysis (did you read "A Good Leak"?)

Posted by: AJ | April 28, 2006 10:58 AM

While searching for the column AJ mentioned, I happened on David S. Broder's column from yesterday entitled "Tension Over Press Leaks". It took the Bush Administration to task, as much as Broder takes anyone to task, for its emphasis on secrecy. No specific mention of the misuse of the classification system, but there was at least some recognition that this administration's dealings with the press are troubling.

I hope this isn't the last we hear from the Post on this matter. In addition to the issue of wrongful classification, Broder made no mention of the selective declassification of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iraq WMD program prior to the Iraq invasion, nor has it mentioned the outing of the non-official cover (NOC) agent Valerie Plame that was clearly conducted illegally by someone in the White House.

The Bush Administration has a great deal to answer for in this area, and I think the WaPo had better start doing its job before it finds out that it can't any more.

Posted by: Cujo359 | April 28, 2006 11:54 AM

After finding the article using Google (wonderful site organization, WaPo), I'd say that Howard Kurtz has presented a one-sided look at blogs. There are blogs like Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo that do old-fashioned journalism. There are sites like Digby's Hullabuloo that feature impassioned and informed viewpoints. And there are writers like Christy H. Smith at Firedoglake and Kenton E Kelly of Dennis The Peasant have prose styles worthy of any journalist.

Yes, there's a lot of crap and a lot of bad attitudes in blogistan, but there are also some real gems. Thanks to the way the Internet works, they're relatively easy to find compared to print journalism. Howie needs to do a little digging before he writes about blogs again.

NOTE: I'd originally tried to include links to all the blogs I mentioned, but the software has silently refused to post this comment with them included. Look them up using Google, I guess.

Posted by: Cujo359 | April 28, 2006 12:35 PM

Kurtz: Good or Evil? Evil.

Posted by: EZasPi | April 28, 2006 01:18 PM

Ah -- nice to see things are getting back to normal around here after the move to the new post.

Posted by: AJ | April 28, 2006 06:50 PM

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake has passed on another reading suggestion to Howard Kurtz: Roger Ailes. THe link below is a sort of "greatest hits" collection of Ailes' work.

Posted by: Cujo359 | April 29, 2006 12:39 AM

Has Lil' Debbie resigned in disgrace yet?

Posted by: Semblance | April 29, 2006 02:48 AM


Thank you for the vote of confidence as well as the endorsement. I think your staff recommendations are good - I'll go with them.

Your "birthday cake" is in the mail.

To other bloggers:

Now that you know who's on the ticket, a single vote for me will pass through to the other folks AJ named. We already have three votes (at least we think it's three - once we pass them through the Diebold vote counter, we're sure it will be more like 47,603; once the SCOTUS is done debating the numbers, we should have at least 7 of the 10 we need). By previously established rules, we only need 10 to pull off this inkless coup.

So, you all need to keep voting.

Having had to attend to other pressing matters (gainful employment) recently, I have neglected to state our platform. Without further ado:

1. In an effort to prop up the current administration (as only a patriotic organ would do), facts will no longer be essential to our reporting. From now on, feelings are what count - especially feelings outrage and anger at anyone or any idea that would challenge the manifest correctness and infallibility of our group judgement/observation/belief/fantasy of the way things REALLY are.

2. There will be no ethical guidelines for our organization to follow when confronted with seeming contradictions in our reporting of our feelings. That's not how mom and dad did it (and they managed to move up from Appalachian poverty to lower middle class - proof of the success of this philosophy), and that's the rule we will follow.

3. Sexual news (and the voyeuristic "ooooh, baby, baby" feelings they generate) trumps war, murder, mayhem, corruption, scandal, political power grabs, and any other news every time. (wanna' make some headlines?)

4. In keeping with plank #3 of this platform, If elected, we will consider changing our name to "The Washington Pole" (a pole is like a post - only sturdier). The new masthead will feature an engraving of the Washington Monument surmounted by an engraving of the U.S. Capitol dome (think about it).

5. Our goal is to bring dignity back to the pubic forum.

5 (a). Oops - make that "public" forum.

6. There is no 700 lb. gorilla in the livingroom. How do we know this? Simple: We don't feel a 700 lb gorilla in the livingroom. Nonetheless, it is good form to carry at least one bannana with you if you're going in there (this is part of our "Faith-based" feelings agenda). Trust us and take the bannana.

That's all for now. Ms. Washington Pole has some stuff for me to attend to, and if I don't get right to it, there will be no news made in this household or at least a week. Priorities.

Remember: the worse it gets out there, the better it gets in here.


Posted by: Smafdy | April 29, 2006 09:07 AM

Can't wait to see how Deborah Howell and Fred Hiatt spin Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondent Dinner last night.

Hint: You were the BUTT of a lot of his jokes! Best wishes!

Posted by: Philip | April 30, 2006 01:41 AM

Colbert just laid into you schmucks. Is it getting through your thick skulls yet? The Post is a dinosaur and the meteor is almost here.

Posted by: semblance | April 30, 2006 02:23 AM

Great platform smafdy -- makes me proud to have cast my vote for you.

The new masthead seems to be particularly appropos given the paper's behavior.

They put up a blog to seduce us and then it turned out to be a one night stand.

Posted by: AJ | April 30, 2006 06:45 AM

Dear Washington Post:

Today's ombudsman column proves once again that the Deborah Howell doesn't understand what the word ombudsman means. Why does she week after week after week ignore readers concerns? She would rather report on media (a la Howard Kurtz) than on problems with the media.

Deborah Howell is supposed to be the readers' represenative at the Post. Her column should reflect readers issues. Instead, we get lazy articles about issues that only the people who work for the Post care about. I'd like to read a column about things the readers' care about.

Please higher someone who understands the role of an ombudsman. One Howard Kurtz at the Post is enough.

Posted by: Anton | April 30, 2006 12:29 PM

Dear Washington Post:

Please stop hurting America.

Posted by: John | April 30, 2006 12:30 PM

I thought maybe someone at the Post could respond to Stephen Colbert's speech:

"Over the last five years [the Press] were so good over tax cuts, W.M.D. Intelligence, the affect of global warms. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know fiction. "

Posted by: Ted | April 30, 2006 12:43 PM

I am still waiting for an apology from the Post for insinuating that the VP can only get booed when he throws like a wuss at a Nationals game. I want them to correct the article and note that it was a bunch of weak kneed liberals who are scared of torture and getting shot in the face that started it.

Posted by: flounder | April 30, 2006 12:52 PM

we now know that the Post sends a cleanup tech in here now and then. Obvious spam stayed up in here for days, exposing for all to see how involved the Post is about this comment section. Brady is quite the laughingstock of much of the blogosphere...

Posted by: Wilson46201 | April 30, 2006 01:31 PM

Since the Post doesn't really report on Stephen Colbert's talk at the White House Correspondents Dinner, I thought the staff and readers of the Post who didn't get tickets might like to read the transcript of his talk. He called the administration and the press out, point by point on all their lies and the total and complete absurdity that is the message they expect us to take as truth:

STEPHEN COLBERT: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I've been asked to make an announcement. Whoever parked 14 black bulletproof S.U.V.'s out front, could you please move them? They are blocking in 14 other black bulletproof S.U.V.'s and they need to get out.

Wow. Wow, what an honor. The White House correspondents' dinner. To actually sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper -- that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face. Is he really not here tonight? Dammit. The one guy who could have helped.

By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail. Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it's my privilege to celebrate this president. We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say I did look it up, and that's not true. That's cause you looked it up in a book.

Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, OK? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the "No Fact Zone." Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.

I'm a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow. I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit.

In fact, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, welcome. Your great country makes our Happy Meals possible. I said it's a celebration. I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible -- I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's not butter. Most of all, I believe in this president.

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

So, Mr. President, please, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass -- it's important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash. Okay, look, folks, my point is that I don't believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull before a comeback.

I mean, it's like the movie "Rocky." All right. The president in this case is Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is -- everything else in the world. It's the tenth round. He's bloodied. His corner man, Mick, who in this case I guess would be the vice president, he's yelling, "Cut me, Dick, cut me!," and every time he falls everyone says, "Stay down! Stay down!" Does he stay down? No. Like Rocky, he gets back up, and in the end he -- actually, he loses in the first movie.

OK. Doesn't matter. The point is it is the heart-warming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face. So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't.

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car!

And I just like the guy. He's a good joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She's a true lady and a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma'am.

I'm sorry, but this reading initiative. I'm sorry, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist, telling us what is or isn't true, or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American! I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will. As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!

Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

Now, it's not all bad guys out there. Some are heroes: Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sacks, Ken Burns, Bob Schieffer. They've all been on my show. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How's Tuesday for you? I've got Frank Rich, but we can bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a guy. Say the word.

See who we've got here tonight. General Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff. General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They still support Rumsfeld. Right, you guys aren't retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld.

Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble: don't let them retire! Come on, we've got a stop-loss program; let's use it on these guys. I've seen Zinni and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. Come on.

Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend. Haven't heard from the Reverend in a little while. I had him on the show. Very interesting and challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say what he wants, at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Justice Scalia is here. Welcome, sir. May I be the first to say, you look fantastic. How are you? [After each sentence, Colbert makes a hand gesture, an allusion to Scalia's recent use of an obscene Sicilian hand gesture in speaking to a reporter about Scalia's critics. Scalia is seen laughing hysterically.] Just talking some Sicilian with my paisan.

John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There's no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, it's so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light, sir.

Mayor Nagin! Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption. It's a Mallomar, I guess is what I'm describing, a seasonal cookie.

Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? [looks horrified] I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife Joe Wilson's wife. Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.

And, of course, we can't forget the man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret Service name, "Snow Job." Toughest job. What a hero! Took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq.

Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, of course, eager to retire. Really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card's children. Mr. President, I wish you hadn't made the decision so quickly, sir.

I was vying for the job myself. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns. In fact, sir, I brought along an audition tape and with your indulgence, I'd like to at least give it a shot. So, ladies and gentlemen, my press conference.

Posted by: Abe | April 30, 2006 08:29 PM

Dear Washington Post:

Why did we invade Iraq?


Posted by: Ginny Hodgeman | April 30, 2006 09:06 PM

Lil Debbie, if you want to send your thank you's to Stephen Colbert, you can do it here:

Posted by: semblance | April 30, 2006 10:04 PM

The Boston Globe had an important story on Bush's signing statements on Sunday:

"WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution."

Why don't we see more of this kind of reporting from the Post?

You may recall that in January the Globe had a story on Bush's signing statement attached to the McCain torture bill. The Washington Post failed to cover it. Not one mention. It wasn't until I asked a question about it in one of these chats...

...that the Post addressed the signing statement, publishing an admirably strong editorial, "Unchecked Abuse" the next day.

The only reason Bush gets to "quietly claim" any authority is because newspapers like the Washington Post let him.

Posted by: Josh W | April 30, 2006 10:45 PM

The Boston Globe had an important story on Bush's signing statements on Sunday:

"WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution."

Why don't we see more of this kind of reporting from the Post?

You may recall that in January the Globe had a story on Bush's signing statement attached to the McCain torture bill. The Washington Post failed to cover it. Not one mention. It wasn't until I asked a question about it in one of these chats (1/10/06, Robert Kaiser) that the Post addressed the signing statement, publishing an admirably strong editorial (1/11/06, "Unchecked Abuse").

The only reason Bush gets to "quietly claim" any authority is because newspapers like the Washington Post let him.

Posted by: Josh W | April 30, 2006 10:47 PM

From Peter Daou

"Bush's clownish banter with reporters - which is on constant display during press conferences - stands in such stark contrast to his administration's destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn't refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man? Or at the least, can't reporters suppress their raucous laughter every time he blurts out another jibe... the way they did when Colbert put them in their place?"

Posted by: Abe | April 30, 2006 11:55 PM

Hey Smafdy, where's my crony appointment? With only a two-vote advantage you may still need to dial that 1-800-RIOT number I gave you.

How about a blogging position like Ben's? For your evaluation, here's a sample of the material I have written:

Over the last five years The Washington Post was so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and The Washington Post had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and Susan Schmidt types those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your husband. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!

Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 12:56 AM

Today is May Day, International Labor Day!

And it's also immigrant "Great American Boycott" day! Get out and show your support.

It's hard to predict the turnout, but it may yet be the largest demonstration in US history. In any case, I'm already looking forward to the Post's overly friendly coverage, being part of the liberal media and all. Ha, ha, ha! Sorry, can't sustain my Colbert impersonation with a straight face. Who wants to lay on a bet that they will give disproportionate coverage to some tiny anti-immigration counter-rallies?

We need to get our May Day Parade going here on the blog -- but please don't make too much of a mess since, on account of the boycott, we'll for once have to clean up ourselves afterwards. Maybe we should go back and trash our old digs in the previous post, since we now have this shiny brand-new one. (What a gift, how generous and kind to us are the distant and silent gods of the Post!)

Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 01:35 AM

It's official!

We have a media blackout on Colbert!

There are over 300 items in Google News on the Bush-double routine, which had nothing particularly newsworthy about it.

On Colbert there's just one short note at Editor & Publisher. Nothing else. In the whole country. Zero. Nada.

CNN (and C-Span as well, I think) even scrubbed the 15 minutes by Colbert out of their re-broadcasts of the dinner.

And this is spite of there being an obviously gigantic interest in the Colbert story -- the numbers for traffic, posts and comments in the blogs are huge, some of the largest I've ever seen, and people are putting up the video everywhere online, with huge viewer numbers (each of the three 5-minute segments at are in the top 10). The website was set up and collected over 3000 signatures in a matter of hours.

Huge public interest in a story and -- from the journalists who are supposed to be looking out for the public and from the media which is supposed to be chasing ratings -- absolutely zero coverage. How do you explain this? 1984 is here, just a couple of decades late.

The Washington press corps are part of the undrinkable backwash.

Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 03:53 AM

Copyright 1996 The Washington Post
The Washington Post

March 22, 1996, Friday, Final Edition


LENGTH: 655 words

HEADLINE: Imus, Live and in Poison; Radio-TV Dinner Jokes Leave a Bad Taste

BYLINE: Lloyd Grove, Washington Post Staff Writer

With President and Hillary Rodham Clinton squirming in stony silence a few feet away on the dais at the Washington Hilton last night, radio shock jock Don Imus made jokes about Clinton's alleged extramarital affairs, his wife's alleged financial misdeeds, Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey's "wooden leg," television appeals for starving children, people who suffer from obesity, the homosexuality of House Speaker Newt Gingrich's half sister and other matters way too tasteless to mention in a family newspaper.

Funny? Well, there were moments when the 3,000-strong audience at the 52nd annual Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner made barely a sound, except for a halfhearted boo or an occasional whimper.

As the "I-Man," as he insists on calling himself, went on and on, and on, cracking wise about the speech impediments and deeply personal marital difficulties of real people in the room -- for the edification of, among others, a nationwide C-SPAN television audience -- it was as though he were spraying abuse like a terrorist with an Uzi.

The Secret Service stood mutely by, instead of doing the right thing and wrestling Imus to the floor. So he laid waste the room. The only thing left to do was to shoot the wounded.

"That was ugly," a network White House correspondent pronounced grimly.


Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 04:29 AM

Copyright 1996 The Washington Post
The Washington Post

March 23, 1996, Saturday, Final Edition


LENGTH: 1131 words

HEADLINE: Punch Lines & Apologies; Just About Everyone's Sorry, Except Don Imus

BYLINE: Kim Masters, Washington Post Staff Writer

It was a roast that turned into an inferno.

Radio talk host Don Imus's raunchy performance at the Radio & Television Correspondents Association Dinner Thursday night has developed into a full-blown media flap. The committee that organized the event has issued a formal apology to the president and expressed its hope that he might attend another of their dinners someday. ABC's Cokie Roberts says she will never -- repeat, never -- be a guest on the Imus radio show again.

And White House spokesman Michael McCurry asked C-SPAN to reconsider plans to rebroadcast the program tomorrow night at 9 and midnight. But C-SPAN, which had already started to promote the show, saw no reason to pull it.

One of Imus's lone defenders was Republican commentator Mary Matalin, who said the members of the audience at the dinner "behaved as if they were sitting on sticks" when they reacted with shock to the Imus onslaught.

"The Democrats have proved that they are humor-impaired," she opined. (Matalin contends that vulgar diatribes aimed at Ronald Reagan and George Bush on similar occasions were greeted with giggles by the media mob.)

Tony Blankley, spokesman for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, also gave some faint indication that the loyal opposition didn't think the performance was so bad. He defended Imus, notwithstanding the radio jock's jokes about Gingrich's lesbian half sister. "I think Imus demonstrated what little appetite Washington has for laughing at itself," Blankley said. "I think it was the consensus -- and I would agree -- that references in the presence of the first lady to certain matters were starkly inappropriate. But those matters aside, I found him pretty funny."


Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 04:30 AM

Copyright 1996 The Washington Post
The Washington Post

March 26, 1996, Tuesday, Final Edition


LENGTH: 811 words

HEADLINE: Imus Finds the Furor Funny

BYLINE: Jeffrey Yorke, Special to The Washington Post

So how does Don Imus really feel about the brouhaha following his remarks at Thursday's Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner?

"[It's] much ado about absolutely nothing, but it's great for me," the bombastic talk host said yesterday in an interview.

As far as Imus is concerned, the real trouble began Friday when White House press secretary Mike McCurry said he had called C-SPAN to ask that it reconsider rebroadcasting the host's "off-color" speech at the dinner, which President and Mrs. Clinton attended.

Yesterday, during an on-air diatribe about the reaction to his spiel -- which included references to the president's alleged extramarital affairs and gibes at the media -- Imus asked the audience: "What would you people think of me if I shot my mouth off here for 20 years and then went down there and kissed their [expletive]. You wouldn't listen to the radio and I wouldn't blame you."

"[I was] accused of rubbing womanizing in the president's face with the first lady sitting right there, which was not my intention," he told listeners. Imus said he'd checked his material with association Chairman Kenan Block and two of the president's friends, and that he and the president had had a similar on-air conversation about the alleged infidelities several years ago.

But on Thursday night, "when I turned to the president and said, 'Remember the Astroturf in the back of the pickup?' he had the option of laughing or not laughing. He chose not to laugh and glared at me. He glared at me," Imus told listeners. ". . . Now, the speech is about 25 minutes, that's the bottom of Page 2, I know that I've got 23 minutes to go. . . . I thought, 'You wanna play hardball? Fine. Here we go, fasten your seat belt.' "

Block had a different take. "I told him blue material would not be appropriate and he agreed," Block told Reuter. "I told him womanizing jokes would not be appropriate because the first lady would be sitting right there and people would not laugh, they would groan, and he said, 'I wouldn't embarrass myself.'

"He ran some jokes past me, and I said they were funny. I never thought he was rehearsing his act for me or that I was giving approval."

Imus intimated that it could have been worse. After all, he told listeners, his presentation was "the watered-down version" of an even more cutting original script. His on-air cronies, producer Bernard McGuirk and show writer Charles McCord, agreed. In fact, McGuirk cracked, "Where were the Vince Foster jokes?"

"They can't have it both ways. They can't come on this program and they can't sit there that night and laugh for 30 minutes . . . [then] tell me how offended they are," Imus told listeners. "They owe me an apology. Because I did what I said I was going to do."

ABC News correspondent Jeff Greenfield, a regular on Imus's show, agrees that the dinner planners got what they bargained for. "If you give a 6-year-old an Uzi and invite him to a birthday party, there's going to be blood on the floor," he said in an interview.

Imus, heard here on WTEM-AM (570), will broadcast the entire speech on his syndicated show Thursday morning beginning at 7:27. He'll also be profiled on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday.


Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 04:35 AM

Note how the first of those stories is from the very night of the dinner. The second story is from the following day. That's already two more that The Post has written about Colbert.


Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 04:40 AM

WaPo along with the rest of mercenary MSM is ignoring the Colbert segment... we all know why...

Posted by: Decider | May 1, 2006 05:06 AM

Give em hell Stephen Colbert, Give em Truthiness

Posted by: twilightsol | May 1, 2006 07:21 AM

I dont think the Msm, or anyone can stop this
story. Alot of people love Colbert, and 70% percent of the population would want to see Bush taken down a few thousand pegs. The only people who dont are the Backwash and who cares about them??
I think this is going to get bigger, just by the reactions of the people I have sent this too. Its already spreading just like the star wars kid. Stephen Colbert just might became a national hero

Posted by: Fed to Bear's | May 1, 2006 07:27 AM


Alright, already - you are the Press Secretary designate (AJ may have nominated someone else, but, hey - I'm the decider here. I know that major newspapers don't usually have Press Secretaries, but I do what I can for my cronies).

Love your original work! I have some great ideas for you to work on. I understand that a secret cabal of White House henchmen broke into DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. See if you can dig up any dirt on this, so that we can sweep it under the carpet. I also have it from reliable sources that Dewey will beat Truman. We can spin this to our advantage. Oh yeah - I need you to define "is". In case your credibility and/or impartiality is/are questioned, remember up is dn (turn your monitor over, and see if that's not 100% correct.

Remember - If you want a strong, balanced voice for the Bush administration - vote the Smafdy ticket early and often.

P.S: Mz: don't pronounce the "t" in often, and no matter what anyone tells you, "nuclear" is pronounced "Nu-Q-Lar".

Posted by: smafdy | May 1, 2006 07:52 AM

I just read Fred Hiatt's editorial, "Going it alone? It depends."

After reading the following passage from the editorial I wondered -- Is Mr. Hiatt auditioning for Mr. Rove's political adviser spot in the administration should Karl be indicted? Hmmmmmmm.

Of course, these are midterm reports, not final grades; in some of these cases, the multilateral approach may yet bear fruit. Further, the disappointing results in part reflect the administration's earlier haughtiness and disdain for allies; damage from such policies isn't quickly forgotten or repaired.

Yet, given the frequency with which phrases such as "rebuilding alliances" are likely to pop up in coming political campaigns, it might be useful to examine the frustrations of recent allied efforts.

Posted by: pmorlan | May 1, 2006 08:17 AM

In day 70 of the Post Blog siege, there is still neither news (unless you count Fred Hiatt's editorials) from within the WaPo fortifications, no sign of life except the occasional admonishment ringing down from the Ivory Tower of Howell. Bloggers are rumored to be building HTML catapults in order to breach the heretofor unbroken walls of the WaPo.

Posted by: Post Blog Under Siege day 70 | May 1, 2006 08:30 AM

Just signed the petition at Anyone who hasn't seen the video can find it via this site. He gave the national press the pounding it richly deserves for its cowardly behavior over the last few years.

If anyone at the Washington Post happens to read these comments, you can count on the fact that there are a whole lot of us out here who have been thinking what Colbert said the other night.

Of course, the only WaPo employees who read this are the ones who clean out the spam. My guess is they have about as much input to the process as the readers do.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 1, 2006 11:22 AM

Post Blog Under Siege day 70,

Your metaphors don't work well in this instance. After all, a wall composed of mush can't be battered, and I doubt it would stay breached for long. And considering what that mush is composed of (think "fertilizer"), I doubt anyone in his right mind would be inclined to storm such a breach.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 1, 2006 11:30 AM

I agree completely with the choice of MZ as press secretary. I myself am lobbying hard for the role of chief justice of the blog. Not really interested in an elected role. I like judging and, of course, the whole lifetime sinecure idea. Then I can paint my office, get the prints hung and settle right in.

Posted by: AJ | May 1, 2006 11:42 AM

You've GOT to be kidding me. You guys take a post from .com about a redesign, turn it into a screed about Bob Woodward, and then wonder why people shut off comments? You hijack something that has nothing to do with what you want to say, arrogantly take any opportunity to get your little comments in, and then wonder why people thing bloggers are idiots. Hmmm.

Posted by: Jenny | May 1, 2006 12:03 PM


If the WaPo had a comments section that accompanied each article, there'd be no reason to "hijack" this otherwise meaningless thread. Just about any real "blog" does this.

The WaPo, IMHO, ignores us because they don't like what we're saying, not where we're saying it. If that wasn't true, then I think they'd behave like a real blog instead of this shallow imitation of one.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 1, 2006 12:19 PM

Jenny -- I have already answered that question. I would refer you to my comments yesterday.

Posted by: mz | May 1, 2006 12:25 PM


This is not a blog. It is bloggy. It has a history of blogginess that you are apparently unaware of.

The Post blog is to blogs what Dada is to DaVinci.

It is not surprising that you would be unaware of it since the Post has done a lousy job of accurately covering the issues raised earlier in their actual blog.

See Jane Hamsher's work on the problems with the Post blog. You can find her stuff at firedoglake. She does a far better job of covering the Post than Kurtz does.

Others -- check out the Live Online chat with Howie today -- it exemplifies the problems with the Post. Cluelessness.

Posted by: AJ | May 1, 2006 01:01 PM

You're 70 days behind this thread, which has been going on for several previous useless postblog-notblogs. If you're offended that people have hijacked this thread, you are far far to0 easily offended and should stick to moderated blogs.

Oh, and bloggers are idiots, much like you.

Posted by: Dear Jenny | May 1, 2006 01:26 PM

Can someone show me where to find the Post's coverage of Colbert's speech. I can't seem to find the article.

Posted by: ed | May 1, 2006 02:16 PM


I used the brand-new "search" function, which Jim Brady extolled on our previous blog page, to search for "Steven Colbert". The only entry from the last month was from today's chat, Howard Kurtz on Steven Colbert:

Rochester, NY: Why no mention of Colbert's performance at the Correspondent dinner in your column today? It seems a perfect topic for the column -- someone critiques the press to its face and gets the cold shoulder. And what do you make of the fact that the usual media is largely ignoring the Colbert performance (the NYT has yet to mention it for example), while everyone in the blogosphere is talking about it? Did it just hit to close to home for some reporters?

Howard Kurtz: Uh -- maybe because I wasn't there, and another Post reporter covered the dinner?

From this, I conclude that since another reporter covered the dinner and didn't think that a comedian who stood in front of a hostile audience of some of the most powerful people in the country to explain to them how they've screwed up was important enough to mention (no doubt, instead, feeling moved to tears by the President's performance), no one at the WaPo is inclined to spend five minutes surfing the Internet to find the videos, nor are they inclined to spend the time to read their blog to find the links we provided.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 1, 2006 03:02 PM

So, Katie, how did the suits rope you into this job? Gee, darlin you must be one of the up an comin new blood. Sorry for ya. Really I am. Good luck to ya. I'm afraid no one will listen to ya.

Posted by: | May 1, 2006 04:07 PM

Froomkin's blog is finally up and he has some coverage of Colbert. As well as some coverage of what the bloggers are saying.

As usual, several of the bloggers are far more astute about what's going on than Kurtz and company.

Anybody notice (long post over at Daily Kos on this) that the Decider and Lawmaker-in-Chief has declared today National Law Day or something?

Talk about an Orwellian moment -- it would have been too perfect I guess to have him declare May 12 (publication date for Glenn Greenwald's book) as the big day.

Still, there is a certain perfect irony to it coming the day after the article on the Boston Globe on Bush the law Challenger-in-chief.

Posted by: AJ | May 1, 2006 04:26 PM

The Washington Post's Reliable Sources Column reports:

"The reviews from the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner are in, and the consensus is that President Bush and Bush impersonator Steve Bridges stole Saturday's show -- and Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert's cutting satire fell flat because he ignored the cardinal rule of Washington humor: Make fun of yourself, not the other guy."

I think the main reliable thing here is out of touch the Washington Post is with the real world. The video clips of the Colbert speech went viral over the Internet. They were downloaded millions of times by people who found them funny. People, that is, who weren't the punchline of Colbert's joke.

Of course, maybe if the Washington Post could answer the question that Colbert used in his humor: "Why did we go to War In Iraq?" then they might be able to laugh with Colbert too.

Until then, the Washington Post is the joke.

Posted by: Yep | May 2, 2006 01:28 AM

Seeing how seriously the Post takes itself these days is funny in and of itself. Especially as others take them less seriously in the wake of their screw-ups with the Abramoff story, the "Good Leak" editorial, the baseball pitch story, etc.

Howard Kurtz has no discernible sense of humor at all. But his huffy defensiveness in his chats is good for a laugh.

Josh Marshall at Taking Points has a good post this morning on something Mike McCurry said ... the poor beleaguered press just can't get used to being held acountable when they screw up. They are used to being demonized from the right -- but having the left stand up and tell them to get it right, that raises their hackles.

They should get used to it.

Posted by: AJ | May 2, 2006 07:54 AM

Day 71 of the Post-Blog Siege, and still no word from the post, or indeed mention of the existence of one "Stephen Colbert" (unless you count Howie, but nobody counts Howie anymore)

Posted by: Post-Blog Siege Gazette | May 2, 2006 08:18 AM

Hey Cujo359, its a crappy metaphor to be sure, I'm referencing Limbaugh's "White House Under Siege" from the Clinton (weeping at the good memories) years.

Posted by: Siege Gazette | May 2, 2006 08:21 AM

How come the crack investigative reporters at the Post haven't begun asking the only really interesting unanswered question about Colbert's appearance ....

How did he get the gig?

Posted by: AJ | May 2, 2006 08:53 AM

How come the crack investigative reporters at the Post haven't begun asking the only really interesting unanswered question about Colbert's appearance ...

Why are we at war in Iraq

Posted by: Huh? | May 2, 2006 12:48 PM

From Dan Froomkin's Column:

Playwright Chris Durang writes for "The media's ignoring Colbert's effect at the White House Correspondents Dinner is a very clear example of what others have called the media's penchant for buying into the conservative/rightwing 'narrative.'

"In this instance, the 'narrative' is that President Bush, for all his missteps, has a darling sense of humor and is a real regular guy, able to poke delightful fun at himself and his penchant for mis-using and mispronouncing words.

"Who cares if he lied to start a war? (Or chose to ignore all contrary opinion, which as far as war-starting goes, is pretty crummy.) Who cares if he declares he's above the law, and according to the Boston Globe yesterday there are something like 750 laws he's decided don't apply to him as 'Commander-in-Chief'? . . .

"Colbert's was a brave and shocking performance. And for the media to pretend it isn't newsworthy is a total bafflement. And a symbol of how shoddy and suspect the media is."

Posted by: Yep? | May 2, 2006 03:08 PM

still waiting to hear why they have not impeached President Bush for screwing up America BAD.

Posted by: bionicblady | May 2, 2006 06:54 PM

Thanks to Dan Froomkin for telling the truth. You wouldn't think that would be a particularly remarkable thing for a journalist to do, unless you read the rest of his paper.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 2, 2006 09:00 PM

It's so funny to hear Post reporters and others in the mainstream press tell us that Colbert was not funny. Like we can't see and decide for ourselves.

Their record is intact.

Wrong on WMDs.
Wrong on Abramoff.
Wrong on why Cheney was booed.
Wrong on Domenech.
Wrong on "A Good Leak"
Wrong on Colbert.

Posted by: Mona Lisa with a Moustache (formerly AJ) | May 2, 2006 09:08 PM

You forgot:

Wrong on Valerie Plame.

Posted by: Beth | May 2, 2006 09:42 PM

Is it true that Howie Kurtz's wife is a Republican media consultant? That he and his family depend on the largess of the Republican party? Don't you think he ought to tell his readers that?

Posted by: hey | May 2, 2006 10:28 PM

hey (the poster, not the interjection) -- Howard 'Jill Carroll should have martyred herself' Kurtz's wife worked for John 'Falwell is a voice of tolerance' McCain, although Kurtz claims that's all in the past (though I leave it to you to guess what cocktail parties the Kurtzes go to). Several other interesting things have been alleged about the current strange cast of Washington Post reporters assigned to national politics and about the even stranger crew in charge of things (albeit without confirmation or denial from The Post). Jim Vandehei's wife apparently worked for indicted corrupt Republican Tom 'I am the Federal Government' DeLay, and VandeHei reportedly has a shrine in his home office full of autographed photos with Bush and, get this one, the Clinton impeachment commission! Also, Deborah 'curses like a sailor and shrinks like a violet' Howell, our esteemed Ombudsman about to replaced by Smafdy, was the editor of the notably right-wing Pioneer Press (which is probably why she thinks Abramoff is a Democrat). And that's before we even get to Susan 'Kenneth Starr's stenographer' Schmidt and Bob 'Fitzgerald is a junkyard dog prossecutor' Woodward...

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 12:25 AM

Oh, still on the issue of backwash, there's also of course Fred 'a good leak' Hiatt -- he's been working so hard for the Bush Administration, I don't want to disrespect his efforts by failing to mention his name here.

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 12:39 AM

And, to end the night in a happy note, here's a good old one for comic relief.

Posted at 02:32 PM ET, 03/22/2006

Publisher's Note

This is the first in a series of periodic conversations I'll be starting with our readers. Perhaps regularly. More likely, I'll write when I have something interesting to say. (Or at least when I think I have something interesting to say.)


I think it will be exciting. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Caroline Little
CEO & Publisher, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 12:48 AM

Don't let the fact that Caroline Little hasn't had anything "interesting to say" since her recent cameo appearance here in the WaPo Blogworld on March 22nd lead you to believe that she might possibly be THE most boring person that works there.

Bob Woodward was, is and always will be THE most boring person at The Post. It's a shame so many of The Post's reporters seem to want to follow in his "grand" footsteps. Besides, Caroline is probably busy working on her acceptance speech for when The Post wins the top award for "blogginess" next year.

Posted by: Philip | May 3, 2006 05:58 AM

Turning on the lights, firing up the coffee.

It does look like Caroline Little is easily frightened.

But Jim Brady must be hiding in a bunker somewhere.

Posted by: Mona Lisa with a Moustache | May 3, 2006 07:52 AM

Jim Brady is probably holed-up in the secret, undisclosed bunker that was built on the Graham homestead after Donald tore down his mother's house, conducting his power lunches with the rich and famous thanks, to the miracle of teleconferencing.

Deborah Howell, you ask? Where might she be? Well, according to The Enquirer, she's checked into "The Betty Ford Center For Journalists Suffering From Tourette's Syndrome."

Posted by: Philip | May 3, 2006 08:16 AM

Heads up Post blog. This means you Brady. And Howell and Little. You could learn something.

From Steve Soto at Left Coaster (cross-posted with permission of the author)

As an outgrowth of the Net Neutrality debate going on now, members of the fourth estate are telling bloggers in effect "tough luck, don't expect us to lift a finger to help you." Why? Because apparently the little babies are mad at the center-left for beating them up and sending them email floods to complain about their lack of balance in covering this White House. Oh please, stop eating the cocktail weenies folks and realize that when we beat you up, it is because we want you to do your jobs better.

When the right wing beats you up, it is because they don't want you to do your job at all. There is a huge difference, and if Dana Milbank, Mike McCurry, or any of the party-goers inside the Beltway can't see that, then they wasted their time at J-School.

Besides, ask yourself this: how many blogswarms have been directed at the reporters for Knight-Ridder? None. Do you know why that is, Mr. McCurry? Because for five years, the folks at KR have beaten the pants off the NYT, the WaPo, and the rest of the cocktail party crowd and done their jobs with a fraction of the budget that the cocktail party crowd have.

So spare me this self-pitying crap. I don't favor sending threatening emails to reporters, and I maintain civil and productive relationships with the reporters than I deal with. But to whine about the center-left blogosphere while you allow the Mighty Wurlitzer to dictate not only how you do your job, but also whether or not you should even have a job is the all-too-typical shortsightedness of folks craving access over integrity and independence.

Posted by: Mona Lisa with a Moustache | May 3, 2006 08:52 AM

T thought the comment upstream was worth repeating.

Washington Post:

Wrong on WMDs.
Wrong on Abramoff.
Wrong on why Cheney was booed.
Wrong on Domenech.
Wrong on "A Good Leak"
Wrong on Colbert.
Wrong on Valerie Plame.

Posted by: Say it again | May 3, 2006 01:41 PM

Formerly Mona Lisa With a Moustache

Formerly AJ

Making an early night of it.

Arlen Specter. Courageous loner or bag man for the administration?

Discuss amongst yourselves. Or not.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 3, 2006 06:03 PM

Mona Lisa With a Moustache... What's with the new androgynous look? Or maybe the moustache is because you're going for the international man of mystery look, circa 1970?

For the last few days I've been whiling away the hours at the CBS News blog. Not quite as clueless as The Post (although they do try), but you get the occasional response.

The Colbert threads have been fun (and enlightening, if you can call it that):

(They an odd layout though: comments go in reverse chronological order, and if there's more than one page of comments you have to click a small link to get the rest.)

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 10:06 PM

Mona Lisa With a Moustache... What's with the new androgynous look? Or maybe the moustache is because you're going for the international man of mystery look, circa 1970?

For the last few days I've been whiling away the free hours at the CBS News blog. Not quite as clueless as The Post (although they do try), but you get the occasional response.

The Colbert threads have been fun (and enlightening, if you can call it that):

Let's see if I can get around the filter that blocks comments with URLs. It's www dot cbsnews dot com and them:


(They have an odd format though: the comments go in reverse chronological order, and if there's more than one page of them you have to click on a small link to get the rest.)

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 10:11 PM

Oops. The first one had done it, sorry. Looks like it's enough to remove the "http://www". Hmm, in that case this comment will probably be blocked. Hey, that means I can say anything I want... TED KOPPEL IS A WAFFLE!

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 10:15 PM

Darn these machines.

Posted by: mz | May 3, 2006 10:16 PM

Just read Richard Cohen's article on Colbert. Richard Cohen is not funny:

From this column, he also appears to be dumb as a rock. Complaining because the Hindenburg joke is a mixed metaphor... Jeesus, making a mixed metaphor is the joke part of it, at least in the terms that Cohen understands 'joke'. But for the rest of us the real joke was making the crowd of press sycophants uncomfortable -- sycophants who suck-up and give political protection to a President who openly declares he can violate any law he wants (750 and counting), who is leaving us with a crippling debt, who's turned the US into one of the very few countries in the world where the ultimate abhorrence of torture is official policy (and this is treated as normal!), who lied us into a pointless war from which thousands are coming back dead and tens of thousands are returning brutally maimed and disfigured -- and lied to us with the complicity and assistance of those sycophants of the press in attendance.

Some of the people most horrified at this are centrists who have been shocked and radicalized by all this, and if anything is going to save the country it's people outside of the political and media established who still don't have their moral sense so thoroughy corrupted.

It requires a frightening deadening of the soul to be aware of all this and not be repulsed, to think it's still just the business as usual of the parlor game of politics, to laugh it up about Bush's jokes about not finding WMDs (wink-wink, nod-nod, we insiders always knew it was just an excuse for the dumb public).

But, Richard, it takes a special talent for winning two coveted Nobel Prizes in Wankery from Atrios.

Unbelievably, like Steineberg at the NY Times, Cohen pretty much manages to write an entire article without mentioning Colbert's comments regarding the media.

For the past 20 years you've been all-too-willing to pay attention to the ridiculous claims of 'liberal bias' coming from right-wing politicians, blowhard pundits, talk radio, Fox News, etc. -- repeating and discussing those claims ad nausea and making a big show of doing something about them.

Here's what Cohen should have quoted from Coblert, if he had any residual self-respect and critical thinking capabilities:

"(...) Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!


Posted by: mz | May 4, 2006 12:28 AM

First, let me state my credentials: I am a smart guy. This is well known in certain circles, which is why, even back in elementary school, I was sometimes asked by the teacher to explain things, give my insight or opinions certain matters. This, anyway, is my standing for stating that Richard Cohen is not smart at all. Rocks could provide more insight about politics.

Not only is Cohen not smart, he's whiny. Why are you wasting my time with Cohen, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political commentary, not to mention insight, in this country. His defenders -- and they are all over the mainstream media -- will tell you he speaks truth and reports facts. This is a tired phrase, as we all know, but when it was fresh and meaningful it suggested consequences -- when the press actually reported facts, no president would be able to mislead or lie a country into war.

But in this country, anyone can be a Washington reporter. Cohen does it and the question of why we invaded Iraq is still not answered.

But he is, like much of the press itself, passing on what those in power want him to. In this sense, he is a reporter for our times.

He also isn't smart.

Posted by: John | May 4, 2006 01:42 AM

First, let me state my credentials: I am a smart guy. This is well known in certain circles, which is why, even back in elementary school, I was sometimes asked by the teacher to explain things, give my insight or opinions certain matters. This, anyway, is my standing for stating that Richard Cohen is not smart at all. Rocks could provide more insight about politics.

Not only is Cohen not smart, he's whiny. Why are you wasting my time with Cohen, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political commentary, not to mention insight, in this country. His defenders -- and they are all over the mainstream media -- will tell you he speaks truth and reports facts. This is a tired phrase, as we all know, but when it was fresh and meaningful it suggested consequences -- when the press actually reported facts, no president would be able to mislead or lie a country into war.

But in this country, anyone can be a Washington reporter. Cohen does it and the question of why we invaded Iraq is still not answered.

But he is, like much of the press itself, passing on what those in power want him to. In this sense, he is a reporter for our times.

He also isn't smart.

Posted by: John | May 4, 2006 01:44 AM

We could spend days nominating those people at the Post who shouldnot have a job at the Post.

Just the preliminary slate would include:

Jim Brady
Fred Hiatt
Richard Cohen
Deborah Howell
Bob Woodward
Lisa De Moraes
Tom Shales (I seriously cannot believe this guy won a Pulitzer)

Nominations are open and will remain open for three days. Highest vote getters will make the short list and the run-off election for Post employee who most deserves to work in any field other than journalism will be held next Monday.

It is desirable but not necessary that nominations include a brief rationale. (Brady, Hiatt, Howell and Woodward exempted because the reasons are so obvious).

Re: my new handle.

Dada is to Davinci as
Truthiness is to truth as
Blogginess is to blogging.

Mona Lisa with a Moustache is a Dadaist painting.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 4, 2006 08:19 AM

This is RICH! Cohen morallistically opining on the "SOLEMN OBLIGATIONS OF SATIRISTS" when the satire was about the President's failure to fulfill his obligations and the media's failure to fulfill their obligations to the American People has to be the most hypocritical editorial the Post has ran since last week!

And George "Kick them when they're Dead" Will going after Galbraith is just too morbid and too soon. I used to think GW had more class than that.

Posted by: Maimonides | May 4, 2006 10:30 AM


Nice work there! If only someone at the Post read these threads.


Posted by: Maimonides | May 4, 2006 10:32 AM

Richard Cohen claims to be a funny guy. Yet it doesn't show in his columns. What a waste of space he column on Corbert. Yeah, some jokes weren't funny and some jokes were. But rude???? C'mon, give me a break. This guy sucks as a columnist.

Posted by: | May 4, 2006 10:37 AM

I can't believe I clicked around enough on this site to finally find a place to post a public comment. Anyways, at least I'm glad to find out that I wasn't the only one that wanted to post about Cohen's "So Not Funny" op-ed piece. Before today, I hadn't read enough of his work to decide whether he offered anything insightful or cogent. Now I'm convinced he does neither. And can anyone attest to this guy being "funny"? I guess the joke's on Cohen.

Posted by: RedStripe | May 4, 2006 01:23 PM

Dada passes everything through a new net.

Dada is the bitterness which opens its laugh on all that which has been made consecrated forgotten in our language in our brain in our habits.

It says to you: There is Humanity and the lovely idiocies which have made it happy to this advanced age




Citizens, comrades, ladies, gentlemen

Beware of forgeries!

Imitators of DADA want to present DADA in an artistic form which it has never had


You are presented today in a pornographic form, a vulgar and baroque spirit which is not the PURE IDIOCY claimed by DADA


Posted by: mz | May 4, 2006 02:32 PM

Froomkin gets it:

But I think that message was just too much for the self-satisfied upper crust of the media elite to handle when Colbert threw it right in their faces on Saturday night.

Here they were, holding a swanky party for themselves, and Colbert was essentially telling them that they've completely screwed up their number one job these past six years. Is it any surprise they were defensive?

Cohen, like John says above, isnt' smart enought to get it.

Posted by: Beth Witton | May 4, 2006 02:35 PM

Eric Boehlert gets it:

Battered by accusations of a liberal bias and determined to prove their conservative critics wrong, the press during the run-up to the war -- timid, deferential, unsure, cautious, and often intentionally unthinking -- came as close as possible to abdicating its reason for existing in the first place, which is to accurately inform citizens, particularly during times of great national interest. Indeed, the MSM's failings were all the more important because of the unusually influential role they played in advance of the war-of-choice with Iraq....

In truth, Bush never could have ordered the invasion of Iraq -- never could have sold the idea at home -- if it weren't for the help he received from the MSM, and particularly the stamp of approval he received from so-called liberal media institutions such as the Washington Post, which in February of 2003 alone, editorialized in favor of war nine times. (Between September 2002 and February 2003, the paper editorialized twenty-six times in favor of the war.)

Cohen, like John says above, isnt' smart enought to get it.

Posted by: Beth Witton | May 4, 2006 02:55 PM


Don't know the work of all the WaPo employees on your list, but I vote in favor of these people having responsibilities that do not in any way involve writing non-fiction:

Jim Brady
Fred Hiatt
Richard Cohen
Deborah Howell
Bob Woodward

Woodward deserves to be on the list due to his difficulty with ethics, the others for their lack of talent for both writing and thinking.

I'd also like to nominate Susan Schmidt for consideration. For the sins of being a shill for Kenneth Starr, and not checking even the simplest of facts before making allegations of corruption, she deserves to be on that list as much as anyone.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 4, 2006 03:10 PM


Cohen is number one with a bullet on the "why is this guy employed by the Post?" list.

Colbert = bully?? Seriously??!?!?

That's rich given the way that this administration has bullied anyone who disagrees with them by publicly and repeatedly questioning their patriotism.

Bullied them to the extent that the NY Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller actually admitted to being intimidated.

Posted by: AJ | May 4, 2006 05:03 PM

Good call on Schmidt although I did like some of the stuff she wrote a few months back -- I think it was the stuff on Abramoff but can't recall exactly. So many scandals to keep track of.

Posted by: AJ (MLWAM) | May 4, 2006 05:05 PM

Schmidt will never, ever be forgiven for her stenography work for Kenneth Starr's lies and illegal leaks.

Posted by: mz | May 4, 2006 05:52 PM

From the archives of the sadly defunct MWO:





"Stenographer Sue" Schmidt of the Washington Post has replied to a reader's honest criticisms of her objectivity and reporting of facts by attempting to smear the reader and have him suffer consequences in his job.

The reader sent his critical remarks to Schmidt via an MWO link.

And what was Schmidt's reaction?

A defense of her work?

Some second thoughts?

A dignified if evasive silence?

No. Sten* Sue lashed back with a nasty, underhanded effort to put the reader's job in jeopardy because he made the mistake of sending his letter of criticism from his workplace computer.

To spare the letter-writer any further harassment, we have withheld his name.

This is how Schmidt's arrogant, unconscionable sneak attack played out:


Subject: Re: Sue Schmidt

Who pays your salary? The Post, or Fox News?

Your fanatical obsession with Clinton is the work of someone who has sold their soul to the devil. Are you being blackmailed into writing lies and unfounded rumors and giving them life by putting them in a "respected" newspaper?

Why don't you write an article about the abuses of power exercised by Kenneth Starr and the leaking of information to major media outlets that helped to immorally sway public opinion?

What's that? You won't do it? Oh, that's right. You were the one who was leaking the false information all those years!


Schmidt looked up the letter writer's bosses' names using the information provided in the writer's email signature. She then forwarded the letter to the gentleman's immediate boss, and the president of the institution at which he is employed!

Schmidt's victim told MWO, "Maybe since she's wasting her time getting people like me in trouble with their bosses, that's why she has a hard time researching facts. I saw, in this one small confrontation, the mindset... Destroy people's reputations regardless of the validity of their criticisms."

Schmidt has committed an extraordinary breach of professional ethics.

Every newspaper editor and reporter worth his or her salt (and, obviously, some who aren't) receives mail from readers, much of it critical, even harsh.

To invite that kind of correspondence from readers, papers like the Washington Post and New York Times now publicize their writers' and editors' email addresses.

And the writers and editors can either reply to readers' criticisms or say nothing.

But to go behind a reader's back and jeopardize his or her employment -- well, that goes way beyond hardball tactics, into the realm of the spitball and the beaner.

So: Can Washington Post readers expect their honest criticisms of the paper to be treated with such underhanded contempt and viciousness as displayed by Sue Schmidt in this instance -- contempt aimed not simply to tell her critic off, but to endanger his job?!

Do Schmidt and the Post now deem it acceptable to smear publicly their ordinary readers, as well as public figures in the news?

Will the Post tolerate this sneaky, presumptuous, and vindictive behavior by one of its reporters?

Will there be no reprimand of Susan Schmidt for endangering the livelihood of a reader -- because she didn't like a letter critical of her work?

Will Washington Post readers ever feel safe again sending letters to the editor that contain anything other than fawning, gushing praise?

Must citizens now weigh the risk of their children starving if they dare endeavor to criticize the media negatively, here in the Washington Post's America?

Or will Stenographer Sue be allowed to play the Red Queen as well: "Off with their heads!"



From an MWO reader...



Unbelievable! Susan Schmidt did EXACTLY the same thing to me! Below is the text of the email I sent to her (I would forward it to MWO except it is now archived and so I cannot seem to forward it):


From: [redacted as Cheney would say]
Date: Thu, Mar 21, 2002 11:14 AM
Subject: Whitewater Article

You sicken me. One last article filled with lies, distortions and blatant right-wing propaganda. You are a disgrace to your profession. You are supposed to be a journalist not a stenographer printing every spurious allegation and despicable piece of innuendo you are fed like some monkey at a zoo.


I sent this from my work email . A few days ago I heard from an office administrator that this email had been forwarded to [redacted], the managing partner of my law firm, [redacted as Cheney would say], apparently in an effort to get me into trouble with my employers.

Fortunately, [redacted] took the incident in good humor (I suspect he may not altogether disagree with the sentiments expressed in my email).

It seems to me that if Ms. Schmidt had spent half as much time investigating Whitewater (rather than relying on self-serving and illegal leaks) as she evidently did investigating letter-writers, she might have been able to write a semi-decent article on the subject.




Dear God!

How many countless other victims could there be, who cannot write us since they were fired from their jobs and could no longer afford internet access?

And what would Sten* Sue say? "Too bad, they should have known better and kept their mouths shut?"

How can the Washington Post posture as champions of free speech anymore?

This is, quite possibly, the saddest week in MWO's history.

Posted by: mz | May 4, 2006 06:02 PM

Ha, ha, ha! You can't write "Sten* Sue" (*=o) in The Post's blog, your comment gets blocked by the filter!

I can't believe they actually went out of their way to put in a rule specifically for the words "Sten* Sue". Just amazing. A little sensitive, are we?

Posted by: mz | May 4, 2006 06:07 PM

Dear Washington Post:

Hey, why *did* we invade Iraq?

Posted by: Zap Rowsdower | May 4, 2006 07:58 PM


Hadn't heard about that one before. Schmidt has little or no worth as a journalist. If those allegations are true, she's not much of a human being, either.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 4, 2006 11:25 PM

So many candidates vying for the role of worst Post hire ever -- it's an embarrassment of riches really.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 4, 2006 11:35 PM

Anybody else find the Shannon McCaffrey dismissive article on Rumsfeld's "heckler" a little thin for their taste? C'mon, at least give us the exchange and do a little research as to whether the accusation had any meat!!

Here's at least what Reuters did with it:

"Rumsfeld said Bush, who made the threat posed by Iraq's weapons his main justification for war, also "spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence people" before making his case to the American people.

"They gave the world their honest opinion," Rumsfeld added. "It appears that there were no weapons of mass destruction."


"McGovern shot back, "You said you knew where they were," referring to the Iraqi weapons.

"I did not," Rumsfeld retorted. "I said I knew where suspect sites were."

"You said you know where they were, near Tikrit, near Baghdad, and north, east, south and west of there. Those are your words," McGovern shot back.

"I'd just like an honest answer," McGovern added. "We're talking about lies," also mentioning the administration's assertions of prewar ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.

"A week and a half into the war, Rumsfeld was asked on March 30, 2003, on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," whether he found it curious that U.S. forces had not yet found weapons of mass destruction.

"Not at all," Rumsfeld responded, according to a Pentagon transcript of the interview.

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat," Rumsfeld stated.

"Rumsfeld on January 20, 2003, said Saddam's government had "large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, including VX, sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism, and possibly smallpox," as well as "an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons."

Other audience members in Atlanta were gentler. One asked about 'what happened in your childhood to make you the man you are today? This might help some parents, because you're a great man." Rumsfeld noted that 'my mom was a school teacher and my dad read history voraciously.'"

Copyright 2006 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
I say he was probably dropped on his head, as were the people throwing the softball questions, as was Ms. McCaffrey.

Posted by: Sara B. | May 5, 2006 08:19 AM

There's really no excuse for Sue YouKnowWho. Did she grow up in an orphanage and get beaten with an old shoe daily? I can't think of any other logical reason she'd continuously peddle her shill anywhere except a tabloid. It's got to be because she's mad at society on the whole. She's going to get those damn bullies, no matter what she has to do. She'll show them.

Meanwhile, back in reality, which doesn't include The Washington Post,... life goes on.

Posted by: Jeff | May 5, 2006 10:10 AM

It seems like the Washington Post really likes it when they get awards. On that note, I nominate Dana Milbank for the "First Annual Richard Cohen Award for Member of the Press Who Thinks They're Funny But Are Actually Sort Of Dumb":

Here's the clip, from today's Politics Live Talk that we could play at the awards dinner:

Baton Rouge, La.:
We're attacking the Washington press corps because we don't think you've been doing your jobs. The Washington press corps was complicit in the run up to the war in Iraq and has never held Bush accountable for anything. It took Colbert to do the job for you.

Dana Milbank: Oh, dear. Baton Rouge really needs to get a life. Can somebody get Baton Rouge a life? Rochester? Milwaukee? Anybody?

Posted by: Ted Ventura | May 5, 2006 12:20 PM

The L.A. Times also had a good article about McGovern's confrontation with Rumsfeld. Christy at firedoglake dot com cited it this morning in an article entitled "Carpe Diem". I mention that so that if I can't write the link here, you can go there and look for it. The URL of the article is:,1,6829919.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true

It confirms the Reuters account, and also says this:

"Rumsfeld was interrupted three times by antiwar protesters during his speech, and during a question-and-answer session afterward he was forced to defend himself against charges by a former high-ranking CIA analyst that he intentionally lied to push the U.S. into war in Iraq."

As usual, the WaPo chose to ignore the information that reflected badly on the Bush Administration.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 5, 2006 12:42 PM

Want Baton Rouge to get a life, Mr. Milbank? How about giving them back this one, who died partly thanks to your paper's shameful coverage of the justifications for the Iraq War:

Name: 1st Lt. Christopher W. Barnett
Age: 32
Unit: Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 156th Armor Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, Louisiana Army National Guard
Home: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Details: Killed when a roadside bomb detonated near his military vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 23, 2004

[from the CNN website for Iraq War casualties]

What you and your paper do, Mr. Milbank, has real consequences. If you can't handle criticism with some grace or humility, then you deserve every bit of the abuse you get in all those nasty e-mails that Ms. Howell and Mr. Brady are always whining about.

Let me apologize in advance if bringing Lt. Barnett's name in this context brings his friends or family any distress. It certainly is not my intention. Lt. Barnett died doing his duty. I just want the Washington Post to remember what its duty is.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 5, 2006 01:35 PM

I thought Dana Milbank losing it in today's Politics Live was about as unprofessional as it gets.

Posted by: Sara B. | May 5, 2006 02:50 PM

"Dana Milbank: Oh, dear. Baton Rouge really needs to get a life. Can somebody get Baton Rouge a life? Rochester? Milwaukee? Anybody?"

Why is it that this kind of offensive, dismissal reply is only ever given to people who are on the center or left-of-center? Have you ever seen a Post reporter give this kind of smarmy answer to a Freeper or the likes? In those cases they're always ever so respectful, no matter how nasty the bile, and eager to prove to them that the Post really doesn't have a liberal bias -- which is achieved by putting out even more propaganda for the Bush Republicans.

As a consequences of the Post's complete failure at its job, thousands are dead and dying, tens of thousands are horribly maimed and disfigured, the US is practicing torture as official policy, and our previously ample capital of good will around the world has been squandered, to say the least -- given all this, in my book, Dana Milbank's joking moves him from the ground of sad incompetence to that of criminal complicity.

Posted by: mz | May 5, 2006 09:18 PM

Why is the media suddenly so shy about sexual issues, now that the Republicans are in charge? It's not like we're just talking about extra-marital oral sex either. We're talking about serious crimes -- prostitutes, possibly male prostitutes, arranged for as bribes by lobbyists for military contractors who got multi-million dollar contracts as a result of their relationship with these people. Heavens, reality under this Republican leadership is more awful than anything a bad Hollywood script-writer could ever conceive. And at this point it's not even third-hand speculation -- a couple of witnesses cooperating with the prosecution have attested to it in great detail.

Yes, I am talking about Duke Cunningham, Porter Goss, Wilkes, Foggo, etc.

Once again, the media is derelict in its duty, and working hard to provide political cover for the most corrupt and dangerous gang in charge of the country in its entire history.

Posted by: mz | May 5, 2006 09:34 PM

Oh yeah -- the limo story has got legs.

But you'll have to check out a blogger (Josh Marshall) to see where it leads.

So now Dana Milbank moves into the lead for most unprofessional and unnecessary Post employee.

Everyday a new candidate.

It's like the whole place is having a meltdown ... some kind of collective delusion.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 6, 2006 12:28 AM

I kind of hate to see Dana Milbank step in the pile and become irrelevant. He and Keith Olbermann gave me quite a few chuckles at Deborah Howell's expense.

Oh, and someone wondered why the press won't cover the "foibles" of the Republicans? Simple. It looks really bad when they've been screaming and banging people on the head with their morals handbook, only to be caught breaking those same rules. It would be totally, totally unfair dude, to point that out. Pass the bong.

Posted by: Philip | May 6, 2006 05:35 AM

Shall we place bets on what Deborah Howell's column will be about this weekend? I think she's going to do a Style Page article and talk about how lovely everyone looked in their gowns last weekend at the dinner and possibly talk about which designers are in this year and which are out. I'm sure that's what the majority of people who wrote her this past week want answers to. That, and the ladies hairstyles. "Who did her hair? It was lovely!" "Pickles looked elegant. What shade of lipstick was she wearing?"

Posted by: Philip | May 6, 2006 05:45 AM


I don't normally have issues with Dana Milbank. He's an entertainer as much as he is a reporter. That's a given. Unfortunately, the "get a life" thing was a tasteless insult to someone the WaPo really ought to be listening to if it doesn't want to see its circulation fall further.

As for Ms. Howell, I'm sure we'll see more tales of uppity lefty web denizens victimizing the employees of this paper for valiantly doing their work. It might not be this week, but over time she's pretty predictable.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 6, 2006 04:12 PM

Okay, I'm allowed to criticize the coverage of the Washington Post, right, without being deleted? Here's something I find very puzzling.

Some reporter doing a routine check of the politicians in his district from his desk in San Diego noticed an unusual real estate deal involving Duke Cunningham.

Pulling this one seemingly insignificant thread has resulted in not only an eight year prison sentence for Cunningham, but has unraveled a web of corruption in Washington the extent of which is STILL not known, reaching up into the highest echelons of the CIA and the Department of Defense, and who knows where it will end? Foggo, Goss, Cunningham, Wade, Shirlington Limos, prostitutes of unknown sex, 25 million dollar contracts, bribery, racketeering, black contracts, Intelligence Committee misconduct, Wilkes, mercenary contracts, who knows what else we don't yet know? has been following and reporting on this story for months, including following up on threads concerning Shirlington Limo. Laura Rozen of and Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo have been the go-to places for information on this scandal, much as emptywheel and firedoglake were the main go-to places for all things Plame-Libby-Rove related.

Here's what I'd like to know. Where has the Washington Post been? Cunningham's completely open corruption both in his personal lifestyle and on the Intelligence Committee happened right under the nose of the Washington Post and of the fine reporters therein.

Where was the Washington Post in all this? Shouldn't SOMEONE have noticed? I mean, the Washington Post provided daily team coverage about the shape of Bill Clinton's penis for years, and yet some reporter in San Diego doing his job in a routine way is the one who pulled the thread that is unraveling the Bush Administration in a huge way.

Shouldn't the Washington Post be embarrassed that this level of corruption happened right under their nose. Even now, the Washington Post is useful only to see what the Administration line is going to be. You don't expect us to believe that the Goss resignation is REALLY due to a "turf war," do you? There are many reasons that this story doesn't add up. Check the above cited websites for very good reasons why.

Fortunately, there are better sources for this story than the Washington Post. The local newspaper for Washington DC. Where this happened. Right under your nose.


Posted by: James | May 6, 2006 08:04 PM


A quick check with Google " Duke Cunningham Mitchell Wade" brings up 158 hits, many unique articles. There are some that have new information, I'm sure. How high quality those articles are relative to what was known at the time I can't say. Their article on the Shirlington limo/prostitution angle didn't seem to break any new ground. TPM does use the WaPo as one of their sources, although I do think the San Diego paper has put them to shame, given the relative resources each could devote to the issue.

They wrote an editorial, "The Duke Stir and the Contractor" critical of the House ethics committee and Dennis Hastert for not getting a handle on such ethics problems.

Try the search string I quoted and see for yourself. Be sure to not put a space between the colon and the 'w' in "".

Where this issue seems to get nowhere near the play it ought to is on the TV news shows, particularly the cable news channels. Why that is I don't know, since there's clearly sex involved.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 6, 2006 09:03 PM


Sure, the WaPo has written about this scandal *since it broke*, but the Dukester was doing this kind of stuff for YEARS. You're telling me that the Dukester was running a massive shakedown on Capitol Hill ever since the Bushies swept into town, and no one on the Washington Post noticed? How is that possible?

It seems he was involved in that bribery on the House floor during the Medicare vote as well. That one kind of got swept under the rug too, didn't it?

I should correct my post above, he was on the Defense Appropriations Committee, not the Intelligence Committee. (See how easy that is, Ms. Howell?)

Regardless, what are these reporters DOING every day when this kind of corruption is going on under their noses on a massive scale? I guess IOKIYR.

Posted by: James | May 6, 2006 11:29 PM

The way that the press have now swallowed this whole new spin (Negroponte vs. Goss) as opposed to what is probably the real issue (Foggo and bribary/corruption) touches a nerve in me.

Specifically, it still stuns me that, despite repeatedly being mislead, lied to, and spun off in the wrong direction, the press corps goes back willingly to the same sad tired sources time and time again.

I suppose you could use any old codependency or batterer analogy here.

Still, over and over again the press have been made for fools and I don't see why someone doesn't just stand up and say, "you know what - if you've provided me with misleading information, I'm going to reveal your name."

1. why protect a source when they lie and 2. why keep using them as a source


Posted by: shingles | May 7, 2006 12:57 AM


It was largely by chance that the Watergate story was uncovered. It is often how crimes and malfeasance are discovered, because the parties involved try to keep it quiet. In retrospect Cunningham seems rather brazen, but both he and the people who were bribing him had reason to keep it quiet, and I suspect that, for the most part, they did.

It's certainly possible that the WaPo and other major newspapers could have pursued some lead that might have led them to the Cunningham story, but I suspect that newspaper editors, like most bosses, want to be able to see a reward for the expense of pursuing a story. When you're not sure what that story is going to be, it seems to me that it would be a lot harder to ask your boss to foot the bill for what might prove to be nothing interesting.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 7, 2006 05:19 AM

Ms. Howell,

Cute story today on the Post "corrections" policy.

Kind of like writing about ticketing procedures or scheduled leisure activities while the Titanic is going down and people really need to know where the lifeboats are located.

There is a gigantic 8000 pound gorilla of a correction (the assertion that Abramoff directed money to Democrats) that we are still waiting for. You keep trying to keep the gorilla in the cage with these silly columns ... but you are making the Post look ridiculous ... and defensive.

Of course, the Post reporters and editorial writers are gving you a lot of help in that regard. See all the preceding posts.

Posted by: MLWAM (AJ) | May 7, 2006 09:53 AM

So Cujo359,

You are saying that there is really no reason that Washington Post reporters should be expected to uncover criminal behavior amounting to racketeering by our elected Representatives, including bribery on the floor of the House of Representatives in full view of the CSPAN audience?

Uh, ok. I guess it is entirely appropriate that the best they can muster is to provide their readers with the Administration storyline fed to them by "anonymous" sources.

I guess we shouldn't expect these reporters to actually CHECK to see if these storylines have any basis in truth. No reason to expect that of a NEWSpaper, I guess. So what good are they, besides having a terrific Sudoku puzzle that is?

Posted by: James | May 7, 2006 02:17 PM

Deborah Howell's column ends with: "Next week: What should a correction say?"

I can answer that: "The Washington Post has no evidence that former College Republicans President and indicted top Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff ever directed any contributions (i.e., instructed any of his clients to do so) to any Democrat, and there has been no suggestion of any Democrat receiving any illegal contribution in this case. The Washington Post Ombudsman regrets her error and apologizes for taking over four months to issue a correction for an obvious factual error in such an important story."

Since you're at it, how about apologizing for obediently typing down Snow's lies regarding Goss' resignation?

I'd suggest something along the lines of: "The Washington Post apologizes for putting the desire to establish a relationship with the new press secretary for the sake of access journalism above the interest of the readers and above the truth. We also apologize for having spent eight years acting like prurient teenagers in the 90's and then having a sudden radical personality transformation and becoming oddly coy and reluctant to talk about prostitutes paid for by lobbyists for military contractors to high-ranking Republican officials, including possibly to the Director of the CIA, in exchange for over $25 million dollars in contracts."

Posted by: mz | May 7, 2006 09:56 PM

"You're telling me that the Dukester was running a massive shakedown on Capitol Hill ever since the Bushies swept into town, and no one on the Washington Post noticed? How is that possible?"

They noticed. They didn't care.

Posted by: sick | May 7, 2006 11:02 PM

And BTW ...

For goodness sake, I know VandeHei's wife used to work for Tom Delay - but does he have to swallow ALL the kool-aid Rove gives him?

Posted by: sick | May 8, 2006 12:31 AM

"does he have to swallow ALL the kool-aid Rove gives him?"

At this point it's not even kool-aid anymore. There's really only backwash left in the bottom third of the glass. But Jim keeps drinking eargerly. All those sewage toxins have got to do a number on your nervous system, no wonder his eyesight is impaired. Corruption and prostitutes, what corruption and prostitutes?

Posted by: mz | May 8, 2006 09:40 AM

Has taken a huge jump. Wonder if the news on the street is that they will now fire ALL of the management AND reporters and start over. Frankly, that would make sense to me.

Posted by: wapo stock: | May 8, 2006 10:50 AM

As one who has excoriated John Harris for his part in the dust-up over Froomkin last year, I would like to acknowledge the fine piece he did on Galbraith and Schlesinger, two unparalleled intellects from an era when it mattered.

Posted by: vienna local | May 8, 2006 03:56 PM

Bush is closing in on Nixon's numbers (note especially the disapproval number!) Less and less backwash to be found in the glass, now *that* is a good leak.

Even if only for the sake of commercial viability, maybe The Washington Post should urgently think about stopping to act like the Republican Administration's official propaganda organ? Soon there'll be hardly any sympathetic reader left.

Gallup, 5/5-7/06, Bush job:

approve 31
disapprove 65
unsure 5
approve minus disapprove -34

Worst-ever Gallup numbers for Nixon:

approve 24
disapprove 66
unsure 10
approve minus disapprove -42

Posted by: mz | May 8, 2006 04:02 PM

Please, for the WP to stop spinning for Bush would mean they actually have some integrity instead of enabling a unnecessary war. Death throes are ugly, aren't they? If you want to see what is really going on - go to and check out Jane Hamsher's post on the MSM ...

Posted by: | May 8, 2006 07:16 PM

Nice job having Cohen spit out the 'angry left' meme. Let me know when you get the fax machine from Karl disconnected.

Posted by: Sigh | May 9, 2006 12:11 AM

First, let me state my credentials: I am a tough guy. This is well known in certain circles, which is why, even back in elementary school, I was sometimes asked by the teacher to beat up other kids. This, anyway, is my standing for stating that Richard Cohen is a weenie.

Not only is Cohen not tough, he's whiny. Why are you wasting my time with Cohen, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political commentary, not to mention insight, in this country. His defenders -- and they are all over the mainstream media -- will tell you that they are attacked by lynch mobs. This is a tired phrase, as we all know, but when it was fresh and meaningful, the press was attacked by the right wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh's, and Bill O'Reilly's. In those days, the press never complained. But now the attack comes from the digital lynch mobs of the left wing liberals. Liberals are mean, Richard Cohen will cry to you. Liberals are filled with hate, he whines.

But in this world and on the Internet, anyone can be a write opinions. Cohen does it and the question of why people read him when bloggers provide much more insight is still unanswered.

But Cohen is, like much of the press itself, a big weenie who crys about left wing blogs and sucks up to right wing pundits. In this sense, he is a reporter for our times.

He also is a big weenie.

Posted by: John II | May 9, 2006 12:45 AM

John II -- I hadn't seem Cohen's column, not sure whether I should thank you for pointing me to it though. That's got to be the saddest and most pathetic thing I've read in a long time. These poeple have been treating Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter respectfully as peers for years -- all the while they called for terrorist attacks on San Francisco and for the military internment of all liberals and sicced hordes of freepers to harass journalists (to which the media's response is always 'thank you sir, can I have another'). But now Cohen is shocked, shocked that sane people have had enough of the lies and of the catastrophic damage to the country that our media classes enabled.

The analogy to Nixon's election is tired and ridiculous. Actually, there is a good analogy to Nixon, but not to his election. I don't remember there being an unpopular corrupt Republican President in power before Nixon?... In Nixon election, the frustration of liberals was destructive because it was directed at a Democratic President.

The correct analogy is to Nixon's second term. Bush now is polling very close to Nixon's post-Watergate levels, and this time in spite of a sycophantic press. That's extraordinary. It's not just liberals who are outraged at the Administation. 65% of Americans disapprove of Bush! Nixon post-Watergate never got above 66% (both numbers from the Gallup poll). If anything, that outrage, which as now was backed by a broad popular consensus (this time minus the press) got us a President who was much too decent for the toxic slime of the Washington political and media elites in which people like Cohen are so thoroughly soaked they can't even smell it anymore.

But, hey, let's not let reality get in the way of Cohen's truthiness. Reality has a well-know liberal bias.

Posted by: mz | May 9, 2006 02:25 AM

Now that George Bush is contemplating his legacy as President, bringing truth, justice, the American way, and peace to the world must take a backseat to his retirement plans. There's 7.5 pound fish to catch and fry from his pond. His presidential library will be a bookmobile, roaming the countryside with its one book on loan: Reading Mastery II: Storybook 1, by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine C. Bruner (ISBN 0026863553). All his papers have been classified. The Segway riding lessons. Will he ride his horses that he previously only milked?

This should be the focus of The Post for the waning two-and-a-half years left. Presidenting is hard work. Boring too. Let's have more human interest stories. Does he wear boxers, briefs or panties? Does he import his Grecian Formula directly from the Grecians? Is he really pretzel-phobic? Enquiring minds wanna know. Don't get scooped, Posties!

Posted by: Philip | May 9, 2006 07:05 AM

I sent Cohen an email he has open-mindedly promised not to read, and then I came over here. This stuff is better than the stuff the Post's columnists get paid to write. It is quite amazing when the American public is out in front of the press. Here is what I wrote Cohen as I couldn't believe he is still whining. I'd say he protests too much. Colbert not only hit Bush right between the eyes, he whacked his media enablers as well.

Mr. Cohen:

I ignored your Colbert rant the first time. Actually, I mostly ignore your column as you rarely have anything to say. But, since you bring it up again, it's not about you. You and the other tell-me-the-talking-points lap dogs have become irrelevant. It is about a pendulum and it has moved away from the right thanks to the excesses of the right. Colbert has received something like 54,000 electronic thank-you notes. When was the last time you received two? Try putting your finger on the pulse next time and maybe you won't have to feel so jealous. You could start by writing about why we really did go into Iraq or the real reason Goss quit. Maybe the federal deficit or how Bush would rather be fishing and really doesn't give a rip about the little people.

Posted by: Sara B. | May 9, 2006 07:29 AM

Another lovely day of having the Posties tell us that we're mean when we call them on being imbalanced.

You've taken it from the conservatives for years. Now it's time for some Tough Love.

Richard Cohen, kiss my Jewish Ass.

Posted by: Tough Love | May 9, 2006 09:11 AM

Cohen's extended whine is silly.

An analogy: let's say that every day I take the same route home and every day I get mugged. Cohen's whine is akin to me getting mad at you for suggesting that I shouldn't keep taking the same route home.

Posted by: shingles | May 9, 2006 09:28 AM

Posting here because Richard doesn't read his e-mail.

My favorite parts of Richard's whine:

"Truth to tell, I peeked into only a few of the e-mails."

"Usually, the subject line said it all."

"The e-mails pulse in my queue, emanating raw hatred."

Send your 3000+ e-mails to me Richard. I'll read them. I think I can manage to negotiate my way through the "ignorant, false and downright idiotic vituperation" and help you to understand why your assessment of Colbert was so wrong-headed.

And I'll publish my assessment here because I hate to see you smear all the people who wrote e-mails to you just because you didn't like what a few of them said -- and you can't be bothered or are too afraid to read what the rest of the people had to say in response to you.

It is cowardly of you to put your thoughts out there and then be too afraid to see the reaction. But that is right in line with the behavior that your paper has exhibited since 9/11. So no shock there.

You are like the mine canary whistling because he's so afraid of the dark (the nasty words)... so afraid he doesn't notice the rumblings below (readers are too well-informed to swallow any garbage reporting or garbage columns the Post cares to print) that means the mine's about to cave.

Oh yeah -- and you can forward me the new batch as well -- I'll help you understand why today's column was so wrong-headed as well. And I can do it without any of the kind of language that seems to be so offensive to you and Ms. Howell.

It's a brave new world. Get used to it.

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Posted by: Maxwell Garang | May 9, 2006 12:15 PM

Sweet, a 419 scam. Seriously internetty. Our blogginess quotient moves ever upwards!

Posted by: mz | May 9, 2006 01:23 PM

P.S. -- anyone want to take bets on how lost this comment will stay up, evading the neglectful gaze of our absentee hosts? I say one week (until May/16).

Posted by: mz | May 9, 2006 01:34 PM

MLWAM (AJ) - Makes me wonder if Debbie Howell uses the same e-mail sampling methods that Cohen does. I doubt I'd be able to go through 3000 e-mails in a day, but I'd certainly want to see the smart ones. Besides, how many could actually be obscene now that those e-mail filters are in place? Must be some glitch in the WaPo e-mail system.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 02:08 PM

mz, one week seems about right. Guess I'll take ten days, just to make it interesting. I'm also betting that phone company spam never gets removed, just like the penis enlargement ad in the previous blog.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 02:11 PM

Richard Cohen once wrote that the anti-war people were fools. Yet, despite his own name calling, when he gets emails from his critics he runs to the
Deborah Howell manual to blame them for being mean.

Anyway, I'd like to point out that Eugene Robinson and Dan Froomkin seem to be Washington Post employees that know how to do their job without whining, pointing fingers, or getting mean. Perhaps the Post should get them to teach some in-house trainings on how to behave like professionals.

Posted by: Blah! | May 9, 2006 02:26 PM

Think they forgot about us?
Or do any Post-ies ever wander over here to check in on our little ghetto?

Posted by: shingles | May 9, 2006 02:48 PM


I'd add Dana Priest to that list. She seems to be one of the few reporters on the national security beat who aren't afraid to honk off the Pentagon and the Administration.

There are a couple of others who deserve praise, but at the moment I'm having trouble recalling who they are. Maybe that's a sort of "what have you done for me lately" kind of memory lapse.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 03:03 PM

The Colbert classic was hilarious.

Check out the picture of Joe and Valerie cracking up.

I could imagine W looking out and seeing them laughing at him.

Posted by: getalife | May 9, 2006 03:25 PM


All I know is I laughed my ass off watching the Colbert video. Apparently, I don't know comedy, but I know what I like. I like subtelty and irony. Apparently, those things aren't funny. I guess only poking someone in the eyes with your fingers or tripping over an ottoman is funny.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 04:36 PM


Here is another funny story:

Posted by: getalife | May 9, 2006 06:18 PM


I dunno. No eyepokes, no pratfalls. Almost seems like non-humor, really. (Actually, I've occasionally fantasized about doing such a thing while I've been standing in line at airports).

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 08:24 PM

I don't know why they bother with e-mail.

The Post should just use the message board feature for editorials -- they screen for language and Richard can reply to the points made in a way that everyone can see what he has to say. There could be a message board link at the bottom of every column.

You know, the NY Times editorial writers (who also receive lots of e-mails that disagree with them) never complain about their readers the way the Post folks do.

And the Times has a regular feature where representative reader responses to editorials are published on-line.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 9, 2006 08:31 PM

MLWAM - I think people also tend to be more civil if they feel like they're in a discussion, rather than just shouting to be heard. Of course, there's almost no real intereaction at the WaPo. They blow off any questions they don't like in the chats, don't read their e-mail, and they don't look at their blog pages. Even the guys who have regular blogs with comment sections here don't interact.

Contrast that with a blog like Firedoglake or Unclaimed Territory where the website owners interact with their commenters. Those comments are generally civil, even when people disagree.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 08:38 PM

I tried to post the whole thing here but it wouldn't let me -- but this is a great letter to Cohen, posted at

And Cujo I agree with you -- the quickest route to civil discourse is to actually engae in a discourse.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 9, 2006 08:46 PM


Good article. Too bad Cohen won't read it. Too unpleasant, doncha know? I especially liked this bit, because I've had this thought about the press, and folks like Cohen in particular. I'm not a teacher, and I'm not from New England, but it's otherwise as true of me as it is of the writer:

"The fact that your Colbert commentary became the flint against this rock doesn't mean that Colbert, or your opinion of him, is to blame for the resulting firestorm. The fact is that people are angry - brain-boilingly, apoplectically, mind-bendingly so - at what has happened to this great country. I am, quite often, so angry that my hands shake. Yes, a former high school teacher from New England here, so filled with bile and rage that I sometimes don't recognize my face in the mirror.

"You, sir, should not be asking why so many of your email friends are so angry. You should be asking why you yourself are not with them in their rage. [...] It isn't your grasp of the issues that concerns me, but the absence of outrage. Do you really care about the things you write about, or is all this merely grist for the mill that provides you a paycheck?"

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 9, 2006 09:15 PM

"The fact is that people are angry - brain-boilingly, apoplectically, mind-bendingly so - at what has happened to this great country."

Sadly, the Democrats in Congress are as clueless about this as Cohen is. They ought to be running on the absolute guarantee that if they get in, they will investigate the bejesus out of Abramoff, NSA wiretapping, the signing statements, the Plame leak, the awarding of military contracts and other government contracts, torture and secret prisons, and especially and initially, how we got into this godawful, stupid, immoral war.

They ought to be telling America everyday -- you have a right to answers. A right to know why your children are already $30K in debt. A right to know if the administration lied to you. A right to know how your tax dollars are spent. A right to know if you are being spied on. A right to know if the people held in Gitmo or elsewhere are terrorists or not. A right to know which, if any, of our elected officials have been bribed or are otherwise beholden to corporate interests. A right to know who was involved in setting energy policy for this inept administration. The list goes on and on.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 10, 2006 08:19 AM

How about these "signing statements" from the Globe:
March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."

Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.



WTF??? Interfere with the operations of the executive branch? Like in spying on you and me, committing torture and murder and rendition and war crimes, looting the treasury in illegal politically based contracts for Republican contributors?

How far does this despot have to go before those 31% finally see the light? What is it going to take for the Washington media princesses like Tim Russert and Chris Matthews and Katie Couric and Richard Cohen to stop covering up for this anti-democratic regime?

Posted by: James | May 10, 2006 09:16 AM

Atrios seems to be having fun posting somewhat embarassing snippets of old Cohen columns on his site.

Posted by: shingles | May 10, 2006 10:52 AM

Carefully Considering a Government

that will move the Economy and its

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Achievement for all .

Remember to be free means that

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are Threated , and your Right to be

FREE to CHOOSE your DESTINY is why


for generations movie stars didn't

become famous until they came to

America , to be FREE to CHOOSE THEIR


Don't put the Wrong Government in

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informed about what representive

party is supporting you as a

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at the is website , ,

and be informed today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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more " Open Mindset " , in terms of

how they Regulate all Forms of

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Free Floating Precious Metals


IN 25 years , become Free of the

Obstruction that was place upon them

through most of the 1990s by the

Liberals / Socialists in the world that

thought to control by allowing Multi-

national Corporations to slowly take

over the Economic Markets of the

world through Consolidations of these

world markets , which lead to the

deteriation of the Mom and POP

stores , or what we called Small

Business sector

Has now in the past 4 years been

making a come back , because of

policy changes that have been made for

a more PRO Small Business platform ,

as you can see at the Pro Small

Business Leader , the NFIB , . This trend is

going to advance the Societies in the

world forward , by allowing a more

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people set their goals for a Better

tomorrow . I have heard through

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Squawk Box , that our Commodities ,

and Precious Metals Markets are the

next big Boom in our Fabric of Life , to

advance the People forward .

But if we choose the wrong

Government Regulators , they will lead

this trend back to what was a

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system , and a Overall world Economic

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Markets to force this to Evolve . This

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own lives is Key to progressing our

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because after all it is but just a game ,

and the game can be managed to be as

good as we the People choose it to be .




(Background music: The Red Flag - tune: Tannebaum)

'Socialist democracy' was the system which existed in the Soviet Union and its allies, alternatively known as the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It consisted of either a one-Party State as in the Soviet Union and the Yugoslav federation, or a Marxist-Leninist-led coalition of political parties and democratic organizations, as in the GDR and CSSR (East Germany and Czechoslovakia), for example. Once candidates for election were nominated and chosen by the political parties/democratic organizations the electorate could only vote for or against them; there were no rival candidates to vote for.

'Democratic socialism', on the other hand, was a multi-party system with the various political parties putting up rival candidates in elections.

There were major flaws in both these systems. 'Socialist democracy' became very weak on democracy, in fact so weak it didn't exist at all, and Socialism also left a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile, 'democratic Socialism' quietly dropped the Socialism over the decades, and changed its name to 'social democracy'. It has now reached the stage in UK under New Labour where there is neither Socialism nor much democracy internally in the Party, although the country still has free elections, even if there is not much to choose between the three major political parties putting up candidates.

The Marxist theory behind Socialist democracy, or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, was historical and dialectical materialism. This philosophy taught that society was constantly evolving, and that tribal or primitive communism was followed by feudalism, which in turn was superseded by capitalism. Inevitably, according to this theory, Socialism would take over from capitalism, and would eventually develop into Communism proper; a utopian society where the State and all artificial regulators would 'wither away'. Under Communism there would be no State, no money, no police, no armed forces. Everyone would work for the good of the community, there would be an abundance of goods and services, and the maxim on which this selfless society ran would be 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'.

In order to progress from Socialism to Communism it was necessary to establish a classless society. More precisely, this meant the liquidation of all classes except the working class. 'No war but class war' was a popular slogan in leftwing circles. It was therefore thought necessary to crush all opposition to Socialism and all classes but the proletariat.

Marxists argued that this was perfectly democratic, since Socialism was a purer form of democracy than anything which had preceded it, and Communism would be absolute democracy; a completely self-governing society where nobody exploited anybody else.

In order to progress from Socialism to Communism, so the theory went, it was necessary to unite the masses in one Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party. Alternatively, as an intermediate stage, the political parties/organizations representing various class interests could be tolerated within a coalition led by the working-class Party, i.e. the Marxist-Leninist Party. The crucial factor in both these systems was that no opposition to Socialism was tolerated, and no rival candidates were allowed to contest elections.

The theory aimed to teach people to govern themselves, rather than elect others to govern them. 'All Power to the Soviets', an early slogan after the Great October Socialist Revolution in the Soviet Union, meant 'all power to the workers' councils'. They did not need opposition parties or a choice of candidates in elections because the people were meant to be governing themselves.

The aim was to abolish class distinctions. The Socialist maxim was 'to each according to their work'. In other words, everyone would become a worker, a member of the proletariat. Exploitation of one person by another would be abolished by taking into public ownership and control the entire means of production, distribution and exchange. In this situation, everybody would be encouraged to join the Marxist-Leninist Party and participate fully in internal Party democracy.

The Marxist-Leninist Parties, and the coalitions they led in some countries, all operated under the principle of 'democratic centralism'. In theory this meant that the ordinary Party members came together in meetings and Party Congresses to decide policy and elect people to carry out these policies. Once policies had been decided, the details of the 5 year plans, etc. were entrusted to the Central Committee, the Politburo and the higher echelons of the Party and the People's government.

Often a great deal of trust was put in the General or First Secretary of the Party, be it V. I. Lenin, J. V. Stalin, Walter Ulbricht, or whoever, who was expected to carry out the democratic decisions of the Party Congress and interim day-to-day decisions of the Central Committee and Politburo. Every Party member, and every citizen, was expected to abide by the decisions of the Party Congress, the Central Committee and the Politburo. So once decisions had been made, there could be no opposition, but debate would open up again at the next Party Congress and its preparatory meetings. However, in practice 'debates' were always based on a program drawn up by the higher echelons of the Party, which few dared to oppose. (It is not much different in New Labour today).

In these circumstances of internal Party democracy in which every citizen was encouraged to participate, it was not thought necessary to have opposition Parties, or to put up rival candidates in elections. The democratic process took place within the Party organization, or within the coalition, and all that was left for the electorate to do was endorse the democratically chosen candidates at election time, or reject them if they saw fit.

This system was meant to get people used to governing themselves as a united body, as the proletariat. Their interests all coincided in Socialism, and once policies had been decided democratically it was everyone's duty to abide by them. As people became more and more involved in the process of inner Party democracy and Socialist government, be it on a local, national or federal level, so the system would become ever more democratic, till eventually the State itself would wither away, and you'd be left with a society which governed itself completely democratically.

This system might work in a small-scale Socialist society, such as a small Israeli kibbutz. The problem was it couldn't work on a country-wide scale where the majority of the population had no interest whatsoever in politics, let alone Socialism, and where a great many people were only interested in furthering their own careers.

Coupled with the inefficiency of monopoly State nationalized industries and central planning, which resulted in shortages and badly produced inferior goods in many cases, the desire of careerists and opportunists to achieve power and allocate privileges for themselves became overwhelming. Marx said this would be impossible, because the broad masses of the proletariat would be vigilant and by their sheer numbers would always be able to prevent any new 'ruling class' of exploiters taking over the State.

In practice, it was all too easy for opportunists to take over first the Party apparatus, and then the whole State, playing on the political apathy of the masses who simply didn't want to be involved in the day-to-day running of their factory, their workplace, their local council or the State. Former capitalists flocked to join the Party, paid lip-service to the ideals of Socialism, and then used the system to look after themselves and their own families at the expense of the masses.

Genuine Communists and Socialists were either liquidated, imprisoned, or they themselves became corrupted by the trappings of absolute power, and awarded themselves privileges. A new 'ruling class' of exploiters soon ran all the Socialist countries without tolerating any opposition. They paid lip-service to Socialism and the ultimate goal of Communism, but the reality was very different.

However, it was not totally negative. This very imperfect form of Socialism at least provided the masses with the essentials: there was no unemployment, they had access to good health services, good education, they had cheap and efficient public transport systems, cheap rents (albeit in often overcrowded apartments), subsidized basic food-stuffs, trade-union organized holidays (within the Socialist bloc of countries) and a secure old age. However there were often severe shortages and lack of variety, and queues for almost everything due to the inefficiency of the nationalized, centrally planned industries and services.

A more successful form of Socialism was the Yugoslav model, which used a form of market Socialism. This involved individual public enterprises and consumer/worker cooperatives all competing in the market place. This resulted in a much wider variety of goods and services and better quality, as central planning was replaced by catering for what the market wanted, and what would sell. Yugoslavia, however, whilst achieving competition in the economy, never achieved it in the political sphere. The Yugoslav Communist Party controlled the State, and no opposition was tolerated.

As I describe in my article on Socialism in the 21st Century elsewhere on this website, I now believe the Communist ideal to be too utopian to work on a national or worldwide scale. It could only work in small communities of idealists, such as the kibbutzim or communes of like-minded people dedicated to the cause.

Society in general will always need the State and artificial regulators to insure that one class or group does not exploit another. The only way this can be achieved is by genuine multi-party democracy, with different political parties contesting elections and putting up rival candidates. This is the only way to insure one group does not gain absolute power, and to guarantee the electorate can always vote out a government by electing another Party or another coalition of Parties to take over.

It is perfectly possible to have this proliferation of political parties with free elections and rival candidates within the confines of a Socialist Constitution. Rival Socialist parties can compete in elections, each with their own programs for implementing Socialism. The electorate then has a choice, without having to get involved too deeply in internal Party democracy and in the day-to-day workings of local and national government.

Democratic Socialism is the preferred term for this system of multi-party parliamentary democracy based on Socialism, but with genuine free elections. Non-Socialist political parties may also be allowed to exist and participate in elections, but may have to uphold the Socialist Constitution until they can muster a sufficient majority to replace this Constitution with an alternative one. However, the example of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe testify how it is almost impossible to successfully turn the clock back from even an imperfect Socialist society to a capitalist one. Inevitably the means of production, distribution and exchange will end up in the hands of criminals, former Party bureaucrats and foreign capitalist/multi-national corporations. Unless you are going to go right back to primitive communism and give everybody in the country an acre of land, some crops, a plow, a pig, a few chickens and a cow, and allow them all to compete and eventually let some employ and enslave/exploit others, starting the whole feudal/capitalist/socialist cycle over again, it just won't work.

The people of the former Socialist countries lost most of their social security when they tried to turn back to capitalism. Many became unemployed, those who found jobs discovered they were now a cheap pool of labor for Western multi-nationals, yet they no longer had the subsidized food, rents, public transport and good pensions Socialism once gave them. There was now an abundance of good quality goods and services, but how many could afford to buy them? Certainly no ordinary working-class person could afford to set up their own company, or buy huge blocks of shares in a newly privatized industry. Many, however, were caught up in 'get rich quick' scams and bought shares which quickly proved worthless, investing and losing their life-savings almost overnight. The only ones to come out on top were the former Party bureaucrats and foreign multi-nationals who grabbed for themselves the industries which once, nominally at least, belonged to the people - to the Socialist State.

Socialist democracy is a term which has been tainted by the errors of the past, but eventually it may be used again to describe truly democratic Socialism, rather than a one-Party State, or one-Party dominated coalition government, which tolerates no opposition and is impossible to get rid of without a popular uprising or complete collapse of the economy.

Posted by: Anthony Newbill | May 10, 2006 10:55 AM

Great, the fringe political spam has arrived.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 10, 2006 02:12 PM

Heads up, new thread!

Posted by: mz | May 10, 2006 02:47 PM

If anything is going to change people's minds about "democratic socialism" its SPAM!
That's like blockading rush hour roads in the name of political protest - all you do is tick people off.

Posted by: shingles | May 10, 2006 03:39 PM

Al-Zarqawi: It's time to stop eulogizing this terrorist. Who cares about his background.

Let's move on to something that's important: like getting our troops out of Iraq, health issues in this country, the Republicans using the nazi playbook to stifle the internet, spy on phone calls, help major industrialists to consolidate, marginalize the middle class in America.

Posted by: cqbrodie | June 10, 2006 03:20 PM

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