A New Legal Blog Launches

We've launched "Bench Conference," a new blog where Andrew Cohen will offer his perspective on legal issues and the latest news from the courts.

A self-described "recovering attorney," Cohen earned both a bachelor's degree in journalism and a law degree from Boston University. He covers the law for CBS News.

Cohen expects to post to Bench Conference three or four times each weekday, respond to comments and keep washingtonpost.com users in the loop on everything from celebrity trials to the Supreme Court.

"This should be a dialogue of sorts, me and you, with the idea being that we can both learn a little from one another," Cohen writes in his first post. "Think of me as your own personal legal analyst -- but no emails about fixing your latest parking ticket."

Hal Straus
Opinions Editor

By Hal Straus |  May 10, 2006; 11:21 AM ET
Previous: New Look for Live Online | Next: Comments on Articles


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Richard Cohen: 0
Stephen Colbert: 1

Richard, please whine more about how those mean emailers were mean to yo uand hurt your wittle feelings.

Ya lapdog.

Posted by: Foopdiggle | May 10, 2006 11:49 AM

Let's hope this Cohen isn't as much of a lapdog as the last one.

From the book "Lap Dogs":

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.)

Posted by: Another Cohen? | May 10, 2006 12:58 PM

are Andrew and Richard (delicate hothouse flower) Cohen related?

Posted by: wilson46201 | May 10, 2006 02:12 PM

Adam Cohen mentions "a dialogue of sorts." Maybe he can come back here to post.blog and give some pointers!

Posted by: LM | May 10, 2006 03:31 PM

oops, Andrew, not Adam.

Posted by: LM | May 10, 2006 03:31 PM

Well, I, for one, will welcome Andrew to our lovely corner of the internets.

Posted by: shingles | May 10, 2006 03:42 PM

Which Cohen was it that Don Imus accused (at a Clinton era White House Correspondents Dinner) of committing adultery with Peter Jenning's wife?

Is it this one?

Posted by: Foopdiggle | May 10, 2006 03:51 PM

Ah, I see that this is a different Cohen from the whiny crybaby Richard Cohen who cries alot.

Posted by: Foopdiggle | May 10, 2006 03:53 PM

Another Cohen.

Same old blogginess.

Say, maybe we could all e-mail him with questions about Bob Woodward's possible legal jeopardy.

Or ask him for an assessment of the legality of the signing statements.

Or whether selectively leaking information that has not been declassified through normal bureacratic standards in order to smear an administration critic is legal?

Or what would be legally required for the Post to get out of its deal with the devil (Deborah Howell's contract)?

Posted by: MLWAM | May 10, 2006 04:49 PM

Andrew is a perfect host for this new blog. His analysis has become more astute (and more balanced) over the years. He's also very readable for non-lawyers. I enjoy his perspective.

Welcome, Andrew.

Posted by: TalkLeft | May 10, 2006 06:20 PM

Good Lord, today's Abramoff headline is a perfect example of pro-Bush spin at the WP. The headline says "Abramoff at White House Twice", when the logs are obviously scrubbed. Three visits that the media KNOW about aren't even included. WMD, Woodward's involvement in Plame, pro-war editorials, the "A Good Leak" editorial, Cohen, the republican affiliations of many of the WH writers, trying to trash Froomkin ....

How can anyone doubt the pro-Bush co-opting of the WP anymore?

Posted by: | May 10, 2006 06:33 PM

What I want to know is this: will he be funny?

Posted by: Sara B. | May 10, 2006 09:30 PM

Please deconstruct Luttig's departure from the 4th Circuit Court for Boeing after his testy remarks in re Padilla.

Posted by: TexLex | May 10, 2006 10:47 PM

I will repeat my question which got censored from here yesterday: are Andrew and Richard (delicate hothouse flower) Cohen related ? This is a legitimate question relating to possible biases...

Posted by: Wilson46201 | May 11, 2006 08:42 AM

I highly doubt it.

Cohen (and its variations) is an extremely common name. For those of the WASPy persuation, that would be akin to asking if two Smiths are related.

Posted by: shingles | May 11, 2006 09:59 AM

OMG, Colonel Clink has built a massive database of American phone records since 9/11.


Are y'all going to cover this story?

Posted by: getalife | May 11, 2006 10:17 AM

Still waiting.

Posted by: getalife | May 11, 2006 10:41 AM

Thank you.

Posted by: getalife | May 11, 2006 11:29 AM

For those of you who delighted in Richard Cohen's raising the spectre of 60s anger ... you are going to love David's Brook's nostalgic look back at the 50s in his column today in the NY Times.

According to David (seriously it is like reading a John Cheever short story), the children (aka "the temper-tantrum" left) having been suitably chastened (apparently by the failure of the Feingold censure resolution) and sent to bed, the grown-ups (Hillary and Lieberman, Giuliani and McCain) have gathered in the living room over cocktails ... apparently to have a civilized discussion. So there is no need for anybody to get all worried because the grown-ups have everything well in hand.

Except the "grown-ups" are getting tipsy and planning a wife-swapping party while the "kids" have snuck out of the house and taken over the party.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 11, 2006 02:57 PM

If we ever have to choose, I say we keep this Cohen and get rid of the other one.

I'd still like to see someone cover that lil' ole illegal classification of the black sites thingy.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 11, 2006 08:13 PM

Okay, back to the important stuff.

I'm still waiting for votes on my nomination to be Executive Editor, Ombudsman, Moderator, and Janitor of this blog (it has long been abandoned by its absentee bloglord, who in order to maintain a claim of ownership, sends the help over to check on it every now and then).

I think we have 7 votes, although I might have counted Aj's and MZ's several times each.

A brief history:


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

Same old same old absentee landlord.

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

Executive editor, Post.com -- 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.


Later, MZ was placed on the ticket as Press Secretary, after a seconding of the nomination by AJ

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

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: (Copy of Steven Colbert's speech


Even later, AJ self-nominated for appointment as Chief Justice.

I hereby appoint him (I assume my fellow blog officers are lock-step with me on this).

Which brings us to the present.

AJ: I want opinions of this new lawyer, Andrew Cohen,

An alleged quote from Mr. Cohen's first post:

"This should be a dialogue of sorts, me and you, with the idea being that we can both learn a little from one another,"

If I'm not mistaken, this sounds like a plagerized Deborah Howell post. You may appoint a Special Prosecutor.

Posted by: smafdy | May 11, 2006 08:43 PM

Okay, back to the important stuff.

I'm still waiting for votes on my nomination to be Executive Editor, Ombudsman, Moderator, and Janitor of this blog (it has long been abandoned by its absentee bloglord, who in order to maintain a claim of ownership, sends the help over to check on it every now and then).

I think we have 7 votes, although I might have counted Aj's and MZ's several times each.

A brief history:


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

Same old same old absentee landlord.

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

Executive editor, Post.com -- 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.


Later, MZ was placed on the ticket as Press Secretary, after a seconding of the nomination by AJ

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

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: (Copy of Steven Colbert's speech


Even later, AJ self-nominated for appointment as Chief Justice.

I hereby appoint him (I assume my fellow blog officers are lock-step with me on this).

Which brings us to the present.

AJ: I want opinions of this new lawyer, Andrew Cohen,

An alleged quote from Mr. Cohen's first post:

"This should be a dialogue of sorts, me and you, with the idea being that we can both learn a little from one another,"

If I'm not mistaken, this sounds like a plagerized Deborah Howell post. You may appoint a Special Prosecutor.

Posted by: smafdy | May 11, 2006 08:43 PM


I assume you are a him (damn, I'm a sexist bastard). If not, I apologize.

Posted by: smafdy | May 11, 2006 08:46 PM

Her, you sexist bastard.

I'd say your nomination as executive editor was in jeopardy but I am not the kinda girl who sweats the small stuff.

From Cohen's first post --

"This should be a dialogue of sorts, me and you, with the idea being that we can both learn a little from one another,"

In my judgment, the above cannot really be considered plagiarism as it appears to come from the boilerplate WP blog introductory materials.

It may however prove to be as fraudulent as the words posted by the Mss. Howell & Little. We will see.

Posted by: AJ (MLWAM) | May 11, 2006 09:14 PM


Your analysis is greatly appreciated, sweetie-pie.

Oops - did I say something wrong?

Posted by: smafdy | May 12, 2006 07:37 AM

So the Post gets scooped by USA Today, and turns around and polls 500 people to establish "SUPPORT" for an illegal wire-tapping program, and then they hide the methodology. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

When the revolution comes, whichever side wins, the Post is going to be up against the wall.

Posted by: EColi | May 12, 2006 08:25 AM

Don't you know there's a war on!

Besides, we all consented when we signed up for phone service.

Now's probably a good time to invest in Qwest, by the ways.

As a serious aside, however, I like how the goal posts keep being moved:
"Only international calls between people with known Al Queda connections...well, OK, maybe not...but we're only tracking the phone NUMBERS of domestic calls, looking for patterns..."

Does anyone really believe it ends there?

Secondly, like all things this administration does, if it IS actually LEGAL (as claimed) why then do they continually do all they can to AVOID actually having its legality tested.

Maybe Andrew can write about that.

Posted by: shingles | May 12, 2006 10:02 AM

Yep, OBL does not have to attack again. The damage from the first attack is ongoing.

The real target was our freedom and guess what.

He hit the target.

Posted by: getalife | May 12, 2006 10:59 AM

shingles -- not only won't they let any judge or member of Congress anywhere near the NSA program, they won't even let their own Justice Department lawyers look into it! They denied security clearance to their own government lawyers. It's got to be really, really bad...

getalife -- you are quite right. Bin Laden had two clearly stated immediate goals: getting US troops out of the Saudi Kingdom (holy cities and all that), and undermining liberal democratic institutions. He's already won on both counts.

Bush the Small and his Strangelovian mix of hard-right authoritarians and evangelical theocrats are shredding the Constitution, and their media lapdogs continue to betray the country by enabling this Orwellian nightmare -- which would surely make the Islamist authoritarian theocrats proud. The disappearances and torture likely even bring a tear of pride to the corner of their eyes.

Also, in order to move US troops out of Saudi without leaving the Gulf, Bush the Small decided to lie the country into war in order to get himself some bases in Iraq. In the process he gave yet another spectacular strategic victory to Bin Laden -- US international credibility in tatters, perfect training ground for jihadists, convenient shooting alley with US troops for target practice, angered Islamic public (unfortunately to a large extent rightly so this time -- providing in the minds of many of them retroactive justification for Bin Laden), Bin Laden's prediction that the US would invade an Islamic Oil-rich country made true further boosting his status and support, Al Qaeda recruiting at an all-time high (and US Army recruiting at an all-tim low). Heck of a job Bushie, Bin Laden surely appreciates -- it's almost as if someone sat down and thought "what can the US Administration do to help those criminal monsters as much as possible?... (short of supplying them with loads of money and all sorts of weapons, including stinger missiles, like Reagan did in the 80s)"

And heck of a job to the sycophants in the press who have been not only enabling this national catastrophe but cheering it along.

Posted by: mz | May 12, 2006 01:52 PM

This was inspired by the local paper, which noted that Richard Cohen of the Washington Post received 4 days worth of vitriolic email (3700+ emails)from readers who complained about how he dismissed Stephen Colbert's roast of the president as "unfunny".

I was left with two reactions. First, wondering why I did not email myself, and secondly, wondering what this contempt of the blogosphere is all about.

For starters, there is that unfortunate tendency to confuse blogging with wildeyed crazy liberals. Lots and lots of liberals have never gone near a computer. The reason the crazies are attached to blogging is that it gives them a forum; the crazies are more-or-less by definition people with an axe to grind. Conservative bloggers fit that definition to a tee as well.

It does not mean they truely are as vile and unbalanced as their scribing would suggest. It just means the folks with an attitude and an opinion have a place to hang out now, a voice that formerly did not exist. What to do with them ? What to do with these nutty bloggers ?

Why does the establishment media find blogging so threatening ? For obvious reasons. Readership of newspapers way down. Viewership of network news way down. I don't think blogging is the root cause, just one of many symptoms. However, easy to see it is a threat, and an elitist one at that. Hard for hardcore trained journalists who work hard 9-5 at their craft, follow journalistic guidelines (supposedly), have degrees and credentials, not to feel superior to anonymous bloggers whose only claim to fame is a website and a dubious crowd of admirers.

Journalists have my sympathy. They do.

The local paper ends with the unsubtle subtlety of insinuating to be liberal is to be unbalanced. These people want Bush's head on a stick. We do. No hiding it.

The problem with that argument aside from the obvious partisan flavor is that it dismisses any and all criticism as unjustified, and it assassinates the character of any who dare to be unhappy with the status quo. Vitriol has a long and storied history in Britain. Over here, it is a new kid on the block.

I would suggest the newspapers would gain more favor if they were less claustrophobic and dogmatic, but then I doubt that. Not so much sure it is about being shut out as it is about gaining a voice. Non-bloggers are discovering their voice as well. They register their opinions in low poll numbers and their endorsement of talk show curmudgeons who voice the resentments the "establishment" refuses to dally with.

Posted by: fredf | May 12, 2006 02:12 PM

Hey -- a little respect for the office please.

We'll have no John Riggins "Sandy-baby" informality in the court herein convened to try the Post's coverage of this administration.

All laughs will be at the expense of the Post.

They richly deserve them.

Posted by: AJ (MLWAM) | May 12, 2006 04:05 PM

There are two faults in your argument:

1) There is, and has been for a long time, plenty of vitriol in the traditional media. From the Moonie Times, to the WSJ editorial page, to talk radio, to about anyone on Fox News -- from vicious smears all the way to eliminationist rhetoric, calling for terrorist attacks on San Francisco, calling for the military internment of all liberals, calling for violence against judges -- all is either taken seriously or, when too horrible for that, laughed off as innocent 'jokes'. The points of note are that it's been almost exclusively from the right, and that journalists chose to either ignore it or, often, to play ball, treating people like Coulter, O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Savage with respect -- effectively as their peers. Now they get a bit of criticism from citizens in the left and center who are rightly upset (71% of Americans at last count), and suddenly they get the vapors?

2) There are plenty of blogs that put the traditional media to shame on the quality of information and on the depth of analysis -- e.g. Glenn Greenwald on civil liberties, FireDogLake on the Plame investigation (Christy Hardin Smith is a former prossecutor), etc.

Posted by: mz | May 12, 2006 04:14 PM

My comment was for fredf, of course, not for our Most Honorable Chief Justice.

Posted by: mz | May 12, 2006 04:17 PM


Dan Froomkin posted the questions asked in that poll. They gave the respondents a false choice: privacy or fight terrorism, and asked them to choose. Almost seventy percent chose "fight terrorism". Then 80% chose "poke me in the eye" over "shoot me".

These folks are absolutely shameless.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 12, 2006 06:05 PM

Morin is absolutely shameless. Jane Hamsher rolls over the rock on this Bush-enabling a** ....


Posted by: | May 12, 2006 06:08 PM

Just went to FireDogLake -- that post on Morin is a must-read. The Washington Post has no shame, it is now an almost full-time propaganda arm of the Bush Republicans, even if that means engaging in crass breaches of journalism ethics.

In defense of The Post, they do have Froomkin, albeit well-hidden in the blogs. He prints the poll's questions, which are pretty damning.

Posted by: mz | May 12, 2006 06:22 PM

No kidding, mz, I usually have to use the WaPo's vaunted search function to find Froomkin's column. Go to the "Columns and Blogs" page, and if it's your day to buy a Powerball ticket, you'll see some indirect mention of Froomkin.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 12, 2006 06:37 PM

I use a shorter route: go to Google, type "Froomkin", click "I'm feeling lucky"...

Posted by: mz | May 12, 2006 06:41 PM

'Then 80% chose "poke me in the eye" over "shoot me".'

In case you were wondering, this will be discussed in Morin's column tomorrow: "Americans Want Administration To Poke Them In The Eye".

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 12, 2006 06:46 PM

Just finished reading that article by Richard Morin and I truly must say what a load of crap!I don't belive your figures for a minuite,I've not heard one person,NOT ONE,say anything in favor of this spying.Your just printing smokescreen to be quoted by the so called 'radical right'.And radical it is.Absolutly un American,totalitarian crap.This administration can talk about freedon as much as they want,THEY ARE THE ONES TAKING IT AWAY!And you are helping.This is why I cancelled my online subscription,and will never give one dime to your partisan rag.

Posted by: DMM | May 12, 2006 06:48 PM

Is Morin ever going to get around to polling about impeaching Bush? A recent reputable poll found Americans prefer Clinton over Bush -- and Morin sure polled the hell out of Clinton getting impeached (push, Push, PUSH ).
Or will asking Morin to poll about impeaching Bush just get him all mad and upset (another WaPo delicate hothouse flower) ???

Posted by: Wilson46201 | May 12, 2006 07:01 PM

When you folks finally rise from the bed you share with the DC power mongers and Republican propagandists, you'll undoubtedly be surprised to find that you've become Pravda, and that USA Today has replaced both the Post and the New York Times as the newspaper of record.

You obviously aren't polling in the right places, or you'd be aware of your jeopardy.

Posted by: William Timberman | May 12, 2006 07:05 PM

I have an idea! A brilliant idea!

In your next job approval poll on Bush, you should ask: "Do you approve of the great job George W. Bush is doing as President, or do you support the terrorists who want to destroy America?"

That should produce some numbers more to your liking, not just your fellow 29% right-wing radicals who, like The Post, support Bush no matter what.

I call it the Stephen Colbert school of polling (you can also go for the classic "George W. Bush, great President, or the greatest President?")

On a more serious note, that poll is systematically biased in so many way that there's no way it's an accident.

1. The main question is a false-choice question.

2. The poll never asks about court warrants or congressional supervision -- this is the ONLY relevant question, which is never asked.

3. The poll never asks specifically how do you feel about the NSA having a log of YOUR phone calls.

4. The main question is preceded by several leading questions, clearly designed to bias the respondent towards a fear-and-security mindset (many of them false choices as well).

5. The survey was conducted before the news cycle where this info came out. People never had a chance to think about it (they heard about it for the first time when it is mentioned in a leading, false-choice question, preceded by several leading questions!)

If, after all of these efforts, they can only get approval up to the low 60s, my guess is that this is a highly unpopular program. An informal poll of people around me, liberal, centrist and conservative, suggests likewise.

Posted by: mz | May 12, 2006 07:15 PM

Is someone trying to create the news? What other explanation is there for the Post/ABC headline of a poll of what Americans who haven't had a chance to be informed think?

The msnbc poll shows the vote 15% in favor 85% against.

What else is NSA monitoring? Calls to abortion clinics or the HIV hotline? Where your car is on the highway? Of course it's not you they're watching on your nickel. It's your VIN number. And the Decider has decided it's legal, so it is all good.

Posted by: Sara B. | May 12, 2006 07:25 PM

time to 'Colbert' Morin's crap, I think. Morin trots out a Bush biased poll every time the MSM and Congress make noises about holding Bush accountable. Time to turn the bright lights of the democracy we have left on him. But don't trust the Post - the heavy lifting and debunking will be done on blogs. Firedoglake, DailyKos, TalkingPointsMemo, etc.

The Post cannot be trusted. They get points for allowing us to vent about the destruction of our Constitution, but they will not save it. There are cocktail parties, school fundraisers, and lunches to attend, after all.

Posted by: | May 12, 2006 07:26 PM

What was your hurry in rushing Morin's story out the day after USA Today disclosed a surveillance program of breathtaking proportions? Figured this was your last chance to show the administration that you can gin up some really nice numbers for them?

Posted by: JPK | May 12, 2006 07:51 PM

Sara B.,

Beside the points we and Froomkin have made about this poll, there's another one that we didn't think of. As a commenter at firedoglake.com wrote:

"Here's a statistic for you, 100% of people polled by telephone said they were 'willing to participate in telephone polls'!"

And then, here's the real punchline:

"This is especially relevant here, since those that value their privacy are less likely to participate in telephone polls."

Yep, that's right - to find out how Americans feel about people invading their privacy, they called people up in their homes at night, and talked to the people who were willing to take a call from someone they didn't know! Nothing like a biased sample, eh?

Read the FDL link that someone quoted a few comments ago. It's great.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 12, 2006 08:34 PM

I am looking for the Rove indictment.

Posted by: getalife | May 12, 2006 08:50 PM

The Washington Post always runs these little push polls whenever the Bushies get in big trouble.

They ran the same kind of push poll about Bushie's response to Katrina on September 2 and trumpeted the results showing that half the respondents (also about 500-600) thought Bushie's response was good.

They ran the same kind of push poll a couple of days after CBS broke the Abu Ghraib scandal and trumpeted the results that said that people approved of prisoner torture and some 70% didn't want Rumsfeld to resign.

They ran the same kind of push poll when Bushie started his ill-fated quest to privatize Social Security.

But these polls can tells us quite a bit: one, that the Bushies, including some Washington Post staff, are very, very worried about this. As people learn more about this wholesale spying, support for it will go the way of Bushies approval on Katrina. We can also infer that the Washington Post is circling the wagons to protect the Bush Administration.

Get ready for thundering editorials in favor of the telcoms handing over our telephone records to the NSA. I'll bet Fred Hiatt (Mr. Good Leak) is limbering up his index fingers right now.


Posted by: James | May 12, 2006 10:00 PM

Yeah -- it'll be called "A Good Call"

To be followed, next Sunday, by a NYT editorial called "A Bad Call".

Stunningly incompetent on polling technique. Really.

How on earth was this inept a polling process and this questionable a result considered newsworthy by the Post?

Oh right ... their idea of news is actually not news ... it's newsiness.

The Post has become the leading purveyer of newsiness, blogginess and truthiness.

Colbert ought to start handing out awards for this kinds of stuff.

Posted by: MLWAM (AJ) | May 12, 2006 10:34 PM

When I first heard of the poll results, I couldn't understand why there was such consternation. I thought - "well, whaddya expect from the Washington Times?" Perhaps I denigrate the W.T.; even they have not stooped this low.

One more of a series of body blows to the credibility and reputation of the Post. How many more can it stand? The Washington Post is being destroyed - by the Washington Post.

Posted by: jayt | May 12, 2006 10:36 PM

Okay, here's your answer. Thanks to AngelofConfusion over at ThinkProgress:

ABC credits the poll to TNS Intersearch Corporation in Pennsylvania. Further information on TNS can be found on www.tns-global.com."

According to Hoovers "TNS Telecoms provides market data and research reports to clients in the telecommunications industry. The company's primary clients are telecommunications service providers"

Interesting. The poll was conducted by a marketing firm whose major clients are telecommunications companies.

Very interesting.

No conflict there. Move along, then.


Posted by: James | May 12, 2006 11:47 PM

Hey, maybe the NSA or the Telcoms supplied the names for this "random" poll using their database information.

In any case, I think Mr. Morin has some serious splaining to do.

Posted by: pmorlan | May 13, 2006 09:04 AM

Hey, maybe the NSA or the Telcoms supplied the names for this "random" poll using their database information.

In any case, I think Mr. Morin has some serious splaining to do.

*** By the way, I like the new blog -- Bench Conference.

Posted by: pmorlan | May 13, 2006 09:08 AM

"According to the latest NEWSWEEK poll, 53 percent of Americans think the NSA's surveillance program "goes too far in invading people's privacy," while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism."

Now, would the responsible persons at WaPO pls explain how it may be possible that a newsweek telephone poll, based on 100% more US citizen that the ABC/WaPo 'poll', has a totally different result than what WaPo claimed and that was widely spread tgrough the MSM? Is there any possible explanation other than the obvious one that this has been a deliberate stunt to make the Bush administration look good?

Posted by: | May 13, 2006 02:43 PM

"Get ready for thundering editorials in favor of the telcoms handing over our telephone records to the NSA."

Why James -- how very prescient of you. We made need to nominate you "Seer-in-Chief" of the Post blog.

What say we ask our new legal blogger and our "own personal legal analyst", Andrew Cohen, to take a look at today's Falkenrath column. Let's hear is his analysis.

BEFORE the NY Times decimates its reasoning and conclusions.

Posted by: MLWAM (AJ) | May 13, 2006 06:55 PM

A few of my favorite lines from today's Falkenrath column -- in no particular order.

1. The potential value of such anonymized domestic telephone records is best understood through a hypothetical example.

Because of course there is no actual evidence that any of this kind of electronic eavesdropping has made us safer.

From now on, I'd like all the policies that my tax dollars pay for to be based on hypotheticals rather than fact-based analysis.

2. If the people associated with domestic telephone numbers A, B and C are inside the United States and had facilitated the Sept. 11 attacks, perhaps they are facilitating a terrorist plot now.

The standard 9/11 reference inserted to question the patriotism of those who oppose the program(s). All rise for the national anthem.

3. Very few career government officials possess the expertise, initiative and creativity needed to devise a system to penetrate such networks, using only existing statutory and presidential authorities, employing only existing technical and personnel resources, and violating the privacy of no American. Yet, if the USA Today story is correct, this appears to be exactly what Hayden did.

Huh? It's just Orwellian how these guys can say exactly the opposite of the truth as if it is gospel.

4. Some legislators and observers have questioned the legality of the alleged NSA domestic telephone records collection program. If the facts of the program are as reported in USA Today, there is every reason to believe that the program is perfectly legal.

And yet -- he gives NONE -- NADA -- NOT ONE of those "reason(s) to believe that the program is perfectly legal." Hmmmmm. Shades of truthiness.

5. But, according to USA Today, the telephone records voluntarily provided to the NSA had been anonymized.

Is a record "anonymized" (did Falkenrath just create a new verb here?) if the government can identify record-holders at will? I think not.

6. Bureaucrats excel at finding reasons not to do something. They are most often guilty of sins of omission, not commission.

Standard slap at government bureaucrats -- almost too cheap to comment on, but I will. Snort.

6. If the USA Today story is correct, it appears that Mike Hayden is no timid, ordinary executive.

Finally -- a statement I can embrace wholeheartedly. He has almost Yoo-like qualities.

7. Indeed, it appears that he is exactly the sort of man that we should have at the helm of the CIA while we are at war.

Oops. That last is the verbal equivalet of the screaming eagle at the end of the Colbert intro. Over the top much?

And finally...

The writer is a fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was deputy homeland security adviser and deputy assistant to the president until May 2004. He has no official knowledge of the program in question.

No kidding.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 13, 2006 07:37 PM

Apropos of MLWAM's comment, can we once and for all stop calling Brookings a 'liberal think tank'? The range of people in that place is centrist to extremist-hard-right. It got tagged as liberal by the right-wing as part of the same strategy that by calling the centrist media 'liberal' repeatedly over more than twenty years got us here -- a media so conservative that it is completely out of touch with 70 pct. of the country (those "whack-jobs on the left" who don't approve of Bush, in Chris Matthews' words) and incapable of doing its essential democratic-watchdog role regarding the Republican Party.

Posted by: mz | May 13, 2006 08:31 PM

Still looking for the Rove indictments.

Posted by: getalife | May 14, 2006 01:35 AM

I guess the NSA guys and Mr. Falkenrath, being a former deputy homeland security adviser and deputy assistant to the president and thus one of those career government officials who doesn't possess the expertise, initiative and creativity needed to discover the super double-secret book called the "reverse telephone directory." It's a shame, really.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Posted by: James | May 14, 2006 03:08 AM

Check out Al Rodger's compilation of what better news organizations are saying about the NSA phone spying scandal.
(Remove the space after the .com/ )
http://www.dailykos.com/ comments/2006/5/14/02940/7322/79#c79

Posted by: James | May 14, 2006 03:14 AM

Why is Deborah Howell writing yet another column whose focus is what Washington Post reporters want. Who cares if it's the reporters or editoris who want to be named in corrections? Isn't it time she focus on reader concerns or do I not understand what the word ombudsman means?

Posted by: SamBert | May 14, 2006 10:54 AM

And the Post dips a toe in the water, raises a finger to test the wind with today's editorial, A Pattern of Excess.

But they still can't resist a little humor.

"Congress and the Supreme Court already have checked some of the administration's excesses; more decisions and legislation could come in the next few months."

Which excesses would those be?

"In the next few months" assuming that the Democrats take the House and or the Senate.

Because nothing this Congress has done gives one any reason to expect any action whatsoever.

Posted by: | May 14, 2006 11:44 AM

Wow, that spam got deleted fairly quickly! There actually is someone at The Post reading this!

Posted by: mz | May 15, 2006 03:07 PM

Probably one of the interns.

I think Jim and Debbie and Caroline and Andrew must have gone out for a drink.

A long and tall one.

Joined by Fred Hiatt and Bob Woodward.

And of course Michael Fletcher -- my new favorite Post writer.

You know him -- he is the one who says that legal experts "say that President Bush had the unquestionable authority to approve the disclosure of secret CIA information to reporters, but they add that the leak was highly unusual and amounted to using sensitive intelligence data for political gain." (4-7-06.

Of course when you read the article, the "experts" are the former general counsels for the CIA and NSA.

And the hits just keep on coming.

The Post is dying of self-inflicted wounds.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 15, 2006 06:03 PM

arf, arf, arf. Are we communicating yet?

Posted by: Lapdog: | May 16, 2006 12:18 AM

So Arlen Specter just rolled over and played dead for the administration again --


but you won't read about here -- head over to Unclaimed Terriroty, Glenn Greenwald's blog for the discussion.

Apparently, for this administration, there really is no tipping point beyond which Congress will not follow them over the cliff.

Posted by: MLWAM (AJ) | May 16, 2006 09:12 AM

"A front-page article in this morning's The Hill reports that Sen. Specter has finally made enough concessions to secure the support of the more right-wing members of the Judiciary Committee for his legislation that (along with a bill from Sen. DeWine) would render legal the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program. As part of this negotiation, what were these Bush allies (Hatch, Sessions, Cornyn, Kyl) holding out for? The removal from Sen. Specter's bill of a clause that would mandate that the FISA court rule on the legality and constitutionality of the NSA program. As usual, the thing which Bush supporters fear most - and which they most desperately seek to avoid - is a judicial ruling on the legality of the administration's behavior....

Posted by: getalife | May 16, 2006 06:11 PM

So Len Downie thinks Deborah Howell is an excellent ombudsman.

Why? That Abramoff retraction has yet to be issued. Among other things.

Len needs to go to NPR.org and listen to Teri Gross's interview with Daniel Okrent, the NY Times ombudsman.

It might raise his standards a bit.

And Len -- it hurts "the news side" when "the editorial side" ignores or makes up its own facts in order to make their point.

Did you read "A Bad Leak" in the NY Times a few weeks back? You should have.

Posted by: | May 17, 2006 06:13 PM

It's getting quiet in here.

How about a quick reminder of the last half-dozen Bush job-approval polls, just so our dear editors and star political reporters at The Post are reminded again of how completely out of touch with the country they are? (For each poll: approve, disapprove, unsure, approve minus disapprove.)

ABC/Washington Post 5/11-15/06
33 65 2 -32
Newsweek 5/11-12/06
35 59 6 -24
Gallup 5/8-11/06
33 61 6 -28
CBS/New York Times 5/4-8/06
31 63 6 -32
CNN 5/5-7/06
34 58 8 -24
USA Today/Gallup 5/5-7/06
31 65 5 -34

And there's this as well: Direction of the country (satisfied, dissatisfied, unsure).

Newsweek 5/11-12/06
23 71 6
Gallup 5/8-11/06
25 72 3
AP-Ipsos 5/1-3/06
23 73 4
NBC/WSJ 4/21-24/06
24 67 9
LA Times/Bloomberg 4/8-11/06
26 65 9

This is where the pointless war based on lies that The Post advocated for and cheered on, and all those 'good leaks', and all the turning of a blind eye year after year to the growing Republican cronyism and corruption in D.C. got us.

Oh, and make sure you read Dibgy's post titled "Investigative Journalism":

Posted by: mz | May 18, 2006 01:09 AM

Thank you Dan for the info. on the Rove leak.

"But it would have been more appropriate if some members of the press corps had instead demanded that Snow explain why he wouldn't answer."

Instead of giggling like children to Snow ducking the question, I agree with your comment.

Reporters are there to report and not suck up like Gannon.

Posted by: getalife | May 18, 2006 06:50 PM

The only poll that matters was the one in the month of November, 2004. You Dems are so smug. While you're playing with yourself, the Republicans are going to kick your ass again this November and again in 2008.

Do you really think anyone is impressed by Hillary, Durbin, Schumer, Kennedy?

Posted by: Joel | May 18, 2006 07:08 PM

Feel better Joel?

Now head on back to class. You have lots to learn.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 19, 2006 08:26 AM

I don't read the post anymore, I just stop by for the blog.

Joel, I have a term for you: Pyrrhic Victory. It means winning the battle but losing the war. Admittedly, they may have to make a new term to describe the current situation. I think "Bushian Victory": Winning the Elections While Losing the War, the World's Good Will, New Orleans, Support Within Your Own Party for Your Domestic Policies, and a Few Trillion Dollars.

Posted by: Maimonides | May 19, 2006 09:05 AM

"...the Senate yesterday voted to make English the "national language" of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in a language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law."

So tell me, what exactly did this law accomplish?!

Good to see that Congress is hard at work enacting symbolic gestures that don't actually do anything.

Posted by: shingles | May 19, 2006 01:22 PM

I'd let them fart around with those empty symbolic gestures all day if it would keep them from doing real damage, like, oh say, $70B tax cuts.

Posted by: MLWAM (AJ) | May 19, 2006 07:20 PM

MLWAM/AJ -- My thoughts exactly. There's no way they are going to do anything to fix the deficit, or to end the war, or to help New Orleans, or to fix health-care, or to fix port security, or even to actually defeat Bin Laden... So let Congress waste as much time as they want with empty symbolic pandering to the extremist right-wing hate-mongers that control most of talk radio and much of cable news (with The Washinton Post well on its way to joining the ranks), and let Bush take as much vacation time and clear as much brush as he wants. At this point we can only hope to avoid more damage until these crooks are out of office. And then The Washington Post can finally stop being a nice little lapdog and go back to being a fierce watchdog of government, sniffing in underwear drawers and such.

Posted by: mz | May 19, 2006 07:43 PM

How about reporting some of this:


Cut the crap and report the truth.

Posted by: getalife | May 20, 2006 03:12 PM

WHy is Howie Kurtz leaking his upcoming columns to Byron York of the National Review? Byron York is crowing that Kurtz is going after the liberal blogs in his next column. Should an 'objective' media reporter be giving head's up to conservative publications about upcoming stories? Or does the fact that Howard's wife works for the National Review have something to do with this?

Posted by: Curious | May 21, 2006 10:07 PM

Curious - Apparently, Elmer, er, Howie, has the wily Jason Leopold in his sights. Appears Howie's buddy Robert Luskin (Karl Rove's lawyer) is kinda miffed because he had to answer the phone a lot last week to deny that his client had been offered a plea deal.

Howie seems to be in quite a snit about this, and openly wonders why any reporter would bother to check out a story about whether the President's top advisor might be indicted for multiple felonies if the report came from a source that wasn't entirely trustworthy. Now, there's absolutely no other reason to believe that Rove might be about to be indicted, is there? After all, everyone testifies to grand juries multiple times about the same case. I mean, how obvious does a lie have to be before those silly reporters will stop calling people?

Now, I'm sure it's quite possible that Leopold's story is completely wrong, and maybe partly fictional. But I think you'd really have to be the kind of journalist who is assured his position at a paper no matter how little journalism he accomplishes before you wouldn't check out a story like this.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 22, 2006 04:35 AM

I get tired of people referring to themselves as "recovering attornies." Sour grapes. It seems Cohen is still making money with his legal training but doesn't want to give credit where credit is due.


Posted by: theonlinelawyer | May 22, 2006 03:07 PM

This place does the concept of blogginess proud.

Posted by: mlwam | May 22, 2006 09:14 PM

I hope this doesnt become a screed for all the left wing loonies out there. All the one who insult, but cry when you say anything back to them. Or the ones who wouldnt know civility if you hit them over the head with it.

Posted by: NICEDAY | May 23, 2006 01:28 PM

Hahaha, it's so funny to see right-wingers plead for civility... After Limbaugh and Coulter and O'Reilly and Hannity and all the vile hatred and smears that filled our airwaves and pages for over 20 years -- with the complicity of the useful idiots that comprise most of our journalistic class -- now you call for civility.

Calling liberals traitors (for, you know, being right on how just about everything would turn out...), calling the military internment of even killing of liberals, calling for terrorist attacks on liberal cities, calling for violence on judges.... All that was very civil indeedy. And the useful idiots of the press continue to this day to treat these hate-mongers as peers and with respect.

And let's not get into the sniffing of underwear drawers which, now that the Democratic Party is on the up, is quickly making a come-back in the NY Times -- but never, even sniff the drawers of Republican politicians (in McCain and Giulliani's there's quite a stench) because that would be, you know, uncivil.

So funny. Now, after have has a free hand to rule with complete control of all branches of government for five years, and having messed things up to a mind-boggling, catastrophic degree -- from crippling deficits, to the greatest military strategic disaster in our history, to torture and domestic spying -- now, suddenly right-wingers get into a fit begging for civility...

Here, have some smelling salts. And then pass them on to Howell, Kurtz, Brady... Well there's a long waiting list of your fellow souls at The Washington Post.

Posted by: mz | May 23, 2006 06:00 PM

Cujo359 -- Howard Kurtz has lost all shame. Everybody already knew that he really isn't a reporter. He's a Republican propagandist, who is personally deeply tied to the Republican D.C. political power structure, and who has no problem with distorting facts when it suits his purposes (there are quite a few gems in his record...) But he does seem to have dropped all pretenses lately. Well, having poll after poll show that the country things that Kurtz's golden boy President and all those Kurtz family cocktail party friends are wrecking the country to an unthinkable degree has to be depressing for the poor soul.

I don't understand how a paper which pretends to be reputable hires someone like Kurtz -- especially after his vile smearing of Jill Carroll, a true, honest, and courageous journalist, like Kurtz will never be. Note that that smear was done, as now, in coordination with the misoginist and racist right-wing end of the blogosphere (oh, and Kurtz's concern for ragegasm Malkin was so touching...)

Posted by: mz | May 23, 2006 06:23 PM

Laura Blumenfeld's article on Bill Frist the gorilla heart surgeon is laughable and dumb. What with all the testosterone soaking and slippery beating hearts. How can you print stuff like this with a straight face? Have you checked for LSD in your water cooler?

Posted by: zenster666 | May 24, 2006 04:55 PM

zenster --

Republican politicians -- no matter how hypocritical their personal and sex lives relative to their public pronouncements (Mehlman, Condi, McCain, Gingrich, Giulliani, and Bush himself, come to mind...), no matter how many cats they've killed, no matter how many lies they've told, no matter how much coded pandering to get votes from the ugly racist fringe they do -- they are always, always profiled in The Washington Post as brave, heroic, larger-than-life, cod-piece-wearing machos (and, yes, that includes Condi...)

On the other hand, Democratic politicians are always portrayed by The Washington Post as weak and slippery -- no matter how well-researched, sound and consistent their policy positions -- and as somehow sexually louche -- they'll even find a way to insinuate it for people who are religiously observant and with a stable family life.

Promoting the personality cult of your leaders and doing character assassination of their enemies is the first duty of the Pravda on the Potomac.

Posted by: mz | May 24, 2006 05:28 PM

What's with Howard Kurtz this morning? You'd think his support of the war had just been heckled. He and McCain and Kerry had better get used to it. And Deborah Howell, if you want to be seen as fair and balanced, you might urge that his columns be labelled opinion from now on.

Posted by: Sara B. | May 25, 2006 08:18 AM

Howard Kurtz is liar and a propagandist, whose hypocrisy knows no bounds. He is a shameful Republican shill, and his lack of principles is an ugly stinking stain on The Post.

This Glenn Greenwald (from this past Monday) is a must read, to see how pathetic, mendacious and self-serving Kurtz's whine is.



So, that's the behavioral standard that Bush followers are advocating. The greatest sin against civility is to boo someone while they give a political speech, and those who do that show that they are deranged and "angry" and are therefore acting at their own peril.


According to Instapundit -- who cited the Gateway Pundit post and said that "a Hateful anti-war speech by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) . . . provokes a near riot" -- this episode "[s]eems to illustrate the point made in this WSJ editorial about the Democrats' penchant for self-marginalization and self-destruction." The WSJ Editorial to which Instapundit cited condemned the heckling and booing by the New School students of McCain's speech. But to Instapundit, that same Editorial also shows that Democrats are acting stupidly and angrily when they give commencement speeches and are heckled by Republican students to the point where they need security to be escorted out.


Posted by: mz | May 25, 2006 02:39 PM

And when are we going to see one story, just one, about Bush's close and long-lasting connecting to Ken Lay, the role that each played in the other's rise to power etc.? Oh, right, that's one of the most important journalism stories of the decade but it doesn't serve the Pravda on the Potomac's propaganda agenda.


Nah, let's go back to watching King-Kong and writing about striking yellow pant-suits. We are in the hands on lazy, incompetent, malicious idiots -- and that includes the press. God help us.

Posted by: mz | May 25, 2006 02:46 PM

Warning! Warning! Sanctimony Meter is registering TERMINAL. Please talk about home improvement, gardening, or pets for next ten posts. Thank you.

Posted by: CT | May 25, 2006 06:01 PM

Oh the joys of extreme comedic irony. After all these years of right-wing talk radio and Fox News and their puerile obsessions that filled every corner of the media, Republicans are now complaining about sanctimony!

At this point, with a crushing national deficit and staggering debt, with the greatest strategic disaster in all of US history wrecking the military (never mind the WMD lies, much less the dead and injured soldiers no one seems to care about), with a major US city destroyed and ignored, with Bin Laden at large and Al Qaeda stronger than ever, with torture and detention without charges official policy, with senior Administration staffers and members of Congress criminally indicted one after another for corruption and perjury, with a new head of the CIA who pompously asserts he knows the 4th amendment while stating it completely wrong and then still gets confirmed -- with all this and so much more, I seriously worry that anyone who's not getting 'sanctimonious' at this point is morally crippled beyond repair.

Unfortunately, the morally crippled seems to include almost all of the media, who'd rather be watching King Kong and writing about the Clintons' sex lives.

Posted by: mz | May 25, 2006 08:07 PM

Apparently, David Broder has nothing better to do these days than opine about Hillary Clinton's marriage. Seems this is the issue we should be reading about, if you read his latest column.

Atrios hit it on the head today:

"Now, my readers, I know you aren't as smart as sophisticated as the Broder, so perhaps he's invoking a linguistic construction above our intellectual abilities. But I sat there considering what he termed the 'two sides' of Hillary Rodham Clinton, her 'opposites.' What are they? Apparently one 'side' is her desire to talk about energy policy in a way which is 'overwhelming in its detail as it was ambitious in its reach.' Her other side is, apparently, David Broder's obsession with her sex life."

[Note: Single quotes within the Atrios quote were originally double quotes. Jim Brady's technological wizardry hasn't yet breached the BLOCKQUOTE barrier.]

There was a time when Broder, like the rest of the WaPo, was a respectable journalist. Now, he seems to be sinking into the muck along with his paper.

Don't you get tired of writing stuff that an old ladies' sewing circle would be embarrassed about, Mr. Broder? With all the Constitutional crises, corruption, and incompetence going on in the government these days, don't you think you could take a break and write something useful? Do you ever get tired of tsk, tsking about those kids today who have no morals like you and your generation did? To paraphrase from one of your earlier self-righteous articles on this same subject, the Clintons haven't trashed the place nearly as much as you and your newspaper have.

I'd take the opportunity to ask you about this during your next chat, but I know how testy old ladies get when the young folk ask them impertinent questions. I think I'll spare us the embarrassment.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 25, 2006 08:47 PM


Posted by: VARUN | May 27, 2006 02:50 AM


Posted by: VARUN | May 27, 2006 02:54 AM


Posted by: HANEEF | May 27, 2006 02:58 AM


Posted by: ASIQ | May 27, 2006 03:03 AM


Posted by: LINDA | May 27, 2006 03:08 AM


Posted by: YAWN | May 27, 2006 09:46 AM

A person who is gesselschafft rather than gemeinschafft shouldn't mind if a log of their phone calls is kept by the government. What's next, food lists from your grocery store checkout turned into the goverment and penalties assigned to foods that seem suspicious? What's after that, your clothes and possessions list compared with a list of accessories that were against the law in the 30s, such as the fez?

Was this done in Berlin prior to bringing in the Stasi or secret poilce? --Brr

Posted by: Olive | May 27, 2006 09:25 PM

Home again.

Kicking back into my bloggy armchair with a drink and the Post after a little hiatus in NY Times territory.

Good to see the usual suspects holding down the fort.

Wonder where Caroline Little has been keeping herself.

The transcripts of the Washington Post chats are a hoot aren't they? VanderHeroworshipper calling Broder "the best of the best" made me laugh almost as hard the excuses offered for Woodward's behavior.

Posted by: mlwam | May 28, 2006 02:58 PM


There was a time when Broder was a very good journalist. Unfortunately, he's gradually descended into panty sniffing over the last decade. Perhaps the saddest thing about that fall is that he fits into the WaPo now as well as he ever did.

His scolding the Clintons about having trashed the place is classic hubris from a guy who seems to have largely forgotten who he was.

Bush has trashed Washington in a way Clinton could only have imagined in his worst nightmares. They've started and bogged us down in an unnecessary war, largely eliminated Congress as an equal branch of government, and broken at least three laws (FISA,War Crimes Act, and the one covering CIA NOCs) and one of his own EOs (13292 concerning classified information), all with nothing more than a polite protest or two from Broder. If that isn't an example of a DC journalist whose priorities are sadly out of whack, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 28, 2006 04:47 PM

I remember the days when Broder was a respected journalist.

They seem eons ago now.

At least as far back as they days when the Post actually covered the administration instead of taking dictation from them.

Back in the days when even the editorial staff understood that you don't make up facts to support your opinions.

I grew up with the Post but I am thinkig I'll grow old with the NY and LA Times. The former won me over with their 2004 mea culpa on the war and the "Bad Leak" editorial, the latter with their great coverage of the pre-war intelligence issues.

And of course their food section.

The Post chats are just thousands of different ways of Post reporters saying "we are so doing our jobs" even when it is obvious that they are not.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 28, 2006 06:11 PM

Good to see you back MLWAM. I should wander into the NY Times boards some day, but being in NY now I've been avoiding it for fear I'll be unable to restrain myself from walking down to Times Sq. to stake out Patrick Healy et al. to throw rotten tomatoes at those panty-sniffers -- or maybe bags of used condoms picked up in conveniently adjacent Hell's Kitchen would be more appropriate (wearing surgical gloves, of course). Since I'm moving back down south in a couple of months, I should then be able to safely start pestering the NY Times on their boards. Even if they have marginally improved over the past two years, they are still too insecure to challenge the pathological sycophancy of the entire media to Republican politicians (when they're not being toadies themselves). And the NY Times is a long way from being forgiven for all their Whitewater lies (which are now proved to have been lies and for which they never apologized), for all the Starr smears and panty-sniffing, and much less for the ever-growing bloody stain on their hands in Iraq (see Miller, Judith), a catastrophic war they advocated relentlessly for against the strong opinion of the overwhelming majority of their NY readers who were all condescendingly treated as ignorant idiots.

Posted by: mz | May 29, 2006 02:29 AM

WP editorial urges us, the great unwashed, to spare 30 seconds for remembrance for the sacrifice of our soldiers.

You know what WP? F**k, you. I think about our soldiers and their sacrifice a hell of a lot more than 30 seconds on Memorial Day. And if you cared about them more than that, maybe you wouldn't of buried the truth about WMD on page 23, and we wouldn't have so many soldiers to mourn. Go straight to hell.

Posted by: Anon | May 29, 2006 12:20 PM

Brad DeLong has a post on Deborah 'curses-like-a-sailor-and-shrinks-like-a-violet' Howell (our Ombudsman who, it's always good to remember, happens to be the former senior vice-president and editor of the very right-wing Pioneer Press):


The well-supported punchline is: "I do know one thing: no newspaper has any business employing an ombudsman who cannot accurately report her own actions of four months ago."

Posted by: mz | May 29, 2006 04:12 PM

In summary, Debbie Howell corrected the correction to her story to say the same thing it did before, only maybe a little more clearly. She did not, however, correct the original story, which was completely wrong, even by the relaxed standards of the Washington Post. Oh, and here's the part that's really funny - she pasted this correction at the top of the original (really wrong) article. Yep, right over the byline that reads "January 15, 2006" it says "In a Jan. 22 aricle, Deborah Howell wrote that ..." Way to go, Debbie! Nobody can pack so much stupid into one short paragraph.

I'm sorry, was that too obscene for you, Ms. Howell?

Jane Hamsher takes up the issue of the Inspector Clouseau of ombudsmen as well:


Someday, I imagine that the publisher of this paper will wake up and say to himself "My God, [or whatever his favorite exclamation might be] I've employed an incompetent half-wit as my ombudsman! How long does that contract run? Oh my, I simply must call my lawyer."

Hey, I can dream, can't I? Until that day dawns, however, the Jane Hamshers of the world will never lack for a source of material.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 29, 2006 06:05 PM

When is this Rag going to Start reporting NEWS.What a Sorry State the MSM is in the US. I hope If or When they Hold the Wars Crimes in the Hague For Bush and His Merry Band of Bastards I hope that the HACKS at the POST and The NYT are sitting in the Prisoner's Box beside them.For you are the BIGGEST BASTARDS of them ALL.You are Worse than Pravda for those Journalists HAD to Spout the Government Propaganda. What's the Excuse for You Bunch of Sorry Assed Hacks that Spout the Propaganda.I Know it isn't FEAR of Jail or Death.All you have to Lose is a Cushy job and Invites to Weenie Parties.I'm Glad I live in Canada where at least for NOW our Press will WALK out of a Press briefing with the PM because he Wants to Decide Who will ask Him a Question and they are the Journalists in the National Press Gallery.You see they Still RESPECT the Ideals of Journalism.The Best thing that Could Happen in the US would be For the American People to Turn OFF thier TVs and Stop buying the Rags like yours they'd get more TRUTH and NEWS from the NATIONAL ENQUIRER.Journalists you're NOT, PAID PROPAGANDISTS is more like it.MAY YOU Lose what YOU Hold MOST Dear YOU'RE MONEY for You Lost your Self-Respect a long time ago.May God Bless America and May HE Have Mercy on your Souls,but then again you have NO Soul you Sold it to the Devil for ACCESS and Weenies. You have the BLOOD of Many on your Hands and many of those are the American Service people who have Died because YOU perferred to be BUSH's STENOs then to be JOURNALISTS and Tell some TRUTH.

Posted by: SUZIE | May 30, 2006 12:16 AM

"Welcome to China, learn more please click here."

Oh boy, more spam, and it's all the way from China! What a wonderful way to start the day! Does anyone watch these comment sections any more?

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 30, 2006 02:12 PM

Greenwald has a nice write up on some shoddy reporting by ace Post stenographer Zachary Goldfarb ("New Policy Adviser Admits Altering Text").


Posted by: shingles | May 30, 2006 03:32 PM

You just beat me to it shingles. Glenn really excoriates the Post today -- and deservedly so -- I e-mailed Debbie about it.

Posted by: MLWAM | May 30, 2006 03:50 PM

It just gets better, doesn't it, shingles? The Post allows a potential government employee to smear a reporter who wrote a story about him, and does not even bother to get responses from that reporter, his editor, or the paper's legal department, all of whom, I'm sure, would have had a pithy quote or two in mind.

Money quote from Zinsmeister from the WaPo article:

"There's so much insincerity in the political discourse. I write very bluntly and I know that, and the president knew that when he picked me. That's somewhat of the bond between us,"

My guess is that Zinsmeister's talent for hypocrisy will come in handy in his new job, also.

Thanks for the tip.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 30, 2006 03:56 PM

Thanks for the tip about Glenn Greenwald's post. This one is beyond the pale, even by today's abismal standards of stenography at The Post. It should be a fireable offense for anyone involved in any way with that article -- reporters, editors who cleared it, fact checkers, anyone. Once more, The Post shows it will stoop down to anything -- unethical conduct, smearing of a colleague, trashing basic rules of journalism -- in order to give political cover to the Bush Administration and to their Republican buddies in the D.C. cocktail party circuit. What has a once-great institution come down to. I feel like throwing up. Poor Katharine Graham. Who wants to bet that wingnut Debbie will either ignore this altogether or defend Zachary Goldfarb's slime job against the angry unwashed readers?

Posted by: mz | May 30, 2006 05:57 PM

POST EDITORS: Andrew Cohen's blog is great. Could you do a couple of things? First, put a link on the main page. Andrew's at least as interesting as "On Balance," and he deserves more exposure. Second, persuade Mr. Cohen to participate in a live chat. That would be great.

Thank you.

Posted by: CT | May 31, 2006 01:29 PM

I agree with CT. Andrew Cohen's a keeper, and one of the very few reasons to come here. Stop making him and Dan Froomkin so hard to find.

He doesn't always cover the issues I want to see covered, but he picks good ones most of the time. As someone who isn't a legal professional, I appreciate his ability to make his points without descending into legal mumbo-jumbo.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 31, 2006 07:25 PM

Mr. Cohen? How much will the new courts opinion on Whistle Blowers have on serious Emailers to Washington Post such as myself??? Vrspy Buzz Baer Holualoa Hi. buzzpagebaer@hotmail.com

Posted by: Buzz Baer | June 1, 2006 09:02 AM

How about addressing the serious problems that plague the attorney disciplinary reinstatement system in Washington, D.C.

Any 'explanation' of 'how' former misconduct occurred is considered as EQUOVICATION, even when the suspended or disbarred attorney recognizes the seriousness of the conduct at the time.

And heaven forbid that said attorney be a non-alcholic addict with years of recovery, who occasionally drinks very lightly.

The 18th & 21st Amendments don't exist, it seems, and when they do, one seeking reinstatement OBVIOUSLY MUST have as ATTITUDE problem by raising the issue.

Can anyone top 8 thats E I G H T reinstatement efforts?

Posted by: Bruce H. | June 21, 2006 07:19 PM

Must give Cohen is due: he's a prolific writer and can churn a couple of commentaries a day!

Like the variety of the articles. It's a good cross section of the legal system that's readable for this CourtTV generation.

I think the reason his blog isn't taking off is because it deals with more high and dry legalese, not the tabloid fare. It's also written with authority, which can come across like a cut and dried conclusion (not Cohen's writing, but how the legal system runs itself).

A lot of potential in that blog if it's targetted to the lay audience ("This is how the real legal system operates."; "This is what's abusive and why"; "Don't like it? This is what the public can do to correct the matter."). There's a gulf of misunderstanding from the general public and the Law. People know a little of it to get by, but not enough to change wrongs, which makes a blog of this stature potentially helpful by educating the public on what's actually going on in the cloakroom, the backbench, and law offices and *why* XYZ isn't right. It'll also make the blog have more of an impact back at home around the country.


Posted by: SandyK | June 23, 2006 01:29 PM

Anybody else read Broder's recent column, "Thinking Outside the Blog"?

Money quote: But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought.

Can anyone tell me the last time Broder had a creative thought? I'm guessing sometime in 1973.

Posted by: shingles | June 23, 2006 02:51 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company