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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
June 25, 2010
Bob Somerby Has the Day Off
Hello everyone, I'll be filling in for Bob today.
[This is] sort of a happy day at The Washington Post, for the dwindling band of writers and editors there who value such old-fashioned traits as temperance in the expression of personal views; forthrightness; and fairness...
The sad truth is that the Washington Post, in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training. This little episode today is proof of this. But it is also proof that some people at the Post (where I worked, briefly, 20 years ago) still know the difference between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior, and that maybe this episode will lead to the reimposition of some level of standards.
Here's Eric Pooley of Time describing a 1999 debate between Bill Bradley and Al Gore:
...the 300 media types watching in the press room at Dartmouth were, to use the appropriate technical term, totally grossed out by it. Whenever Gore came on too strong, the room erupted in a collective jeer, like a gang of 15-year-old Heathers cutting down some hapless nerd.
Jake Tapper, then of Salon, now of ABC, describing the same event:
...at the first debate between Bill Bradley and Al Gore, there was hissing for Gore in the media room up at Dartmouth College. The reporters were hissing Gore...
Howard Mortman of Hotline describing it:
The media groaned, howled and laughed almost every time Al Gore said something...
To be clear, I have no problem with any reporter sneering at any politician. It would be a better world if they all sneered at all of them (as long as it was for things like claiming the power to assassinate U.S. citizens, or making assertions about Iran's nuclear activities that go beyond official U.S. intelligence, rather than not being cool enough). But it's unbearable to have Jeffrey Goldberg lecture the universe about proper journalistic standards.
P.S. It would be interesting to ask the Washington Post ombudsman whether its reporters who were at Dartmouth for this debate, Ceci Connolly and Dan Balz, Michael Powell and David Broder remember and/or participated in this.
—Jonathan SchwarzPosted at June 25, 2010 07:06 PM