Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space"

I won't be posting much--if at all--through the end of July since I'll be here:

(Quotation from Ansel Adams, who took some impressive photos of the park.)

Cute kids

Whatever John Roberts strengths or weaknesses may be, he's got cute kids. (Via Instapundit.)

Another cute pic here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What's good for the goose: CJR Daily

Samantha Henig of CJR Daily, the Columbia Journalism Review's blog, writes a take-down of a "citizen journalism" site profiled by The Washington Post.

One complaint she has with the site is sloppy attribution. By way of example she cites four articles whose bylines clearly state the author's name but leave it unclear which high school the author attends. (In three cases the byline reads "Beau Baumbach, Davenport North," while in one case the byline is "Beau Baumbach, Davenport Central.") Hardly a fatal error. Indeed, a trivial error when compared with, say, leaving Victor Navasky's name off your publication's masthead when he is in fact running the publication, and only fixing it when exposed by one of those pesky citizen journalist bloggers. But then, the Navasky affair wasn't important enough for even a single mention on CJR Daily. (For background on CJR/Navasky, see here, here and here.)

Later, Henig critiques the site's under-use of hyperlinks, which she describes as
something so basic that even stodgy news sites have it down.
Fair enough. But if you're going to use sarcasm in critiquing others' use of hyperlinks, then you better get the links right in your own article. Here I quote Henig's article directly, broken hyperlink and all:
The article focuses on the Web site Your Mom....
Here is the correct link to the site Your Mom, which Henig so disparages.

Update: The broken link in Henig's article has now been fixed.


This Cox & Forkum cartoon pretty well summarizes my view on the National Hockey League labor agreement:

NHL: We're back!

Sports fan: You were gone?

We interrupt regularly scheduled blogging to bring you...

The Standings:

American League East
NY Yankees5041.549-
Tampa Bay3262.34019½


Monday, July 18, 2005

More on child car seats versus seat belts

Confirming data (that child seats do not seem to save more lives than seat belts alone, at least for the over-2 crowd) reported by the Freakonomics guys here.

CJR masthead: a step closer to getting it right

The masthead in the print edition of the July/August 2005 issue of Columbia Journalism Review is available (in a poor quality scan) here.

The good news is that CJR kept its commitment (which it delivered seemingly under heat) to put Victor Navasky on the masthead as chairman. (As I wrote earlier, Navasky still does not appear on the online version of the masthead.)

The bad news is that they stuck him in the wrong place. If the editorial and publishing sides of CJR both answer to Navasky--as they apparently do--, then why does he appear at the bottom of the masthead?

To be charitable to CJR, is it because Navasky's role has generally not been very hands on, especially on the editorial side? Perhaps, but then CJR needs to explain why the convention is different for Columbia Journalism School dean Nicholas Lemann, whose name appears at the very top of the masthead.

Or can Navasky's name at the bottom of the list be better explained as a remnant of the "guilty knowledge" that Brenda Ross suggested was the impetus for CJR to hide Navasky's role in the first place?

I leave it to the reader to decide.

Bravo for Al Leiter. Oops for AP

Kind of neat that Al Leiter went 16+ years between starts as a New York Yankee. Even neater that he handily won a game for the Yankees Sunday night against the arch rival Red Sox by dominating one of the best line-ups in baseball, all within days of being left on the trash heap by his former team, the Florida Marlins.

But that's not what this post is about.

Could someone please explain this line from the AP report of the game by Jimmy Golen?
Leiter went 16 years, 82 days since his last Yankees start, on April 26, 1989. It's the longest gap for them since Babe Ruth went 9 years, 107 days -- playing the outfield -- between starts for the team, according to Elias.

Last I checked, 16 years is longer than 9 years. I assume Golen meant to write something like this:
Leiter went 16 years, 82 days since his last Yankees start, on April 26, 1989. It's the longest gap ever for the Yankees, surpassing Babe Ruth who went 9 years, 107 days -- playing the outfield -- between starts for the team, according to Elias.
What's also odd is that the ESPN television announcers made the same mistake. So perhaps the fault lies with Elias which provided that statistic. But the AP editors should have picked it up.

As of this posting, Google shows some 87 outlets that have run with the AP error.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Using to fisk as a verb

I have just discovered what could be the earliest use of the the word fisk as a verb. On December 24, 2001, Glenn Reynolds wrote on Instapundit,
STEPHANIE SALTER WAS CHANNELING JESUS, and I was going to write something about it, but the holiday season afflicted me with too much charity and cheerfulness to give her the sound Fisking that she so richly deserved.
If anyone knows of an earlier use of the word, please let me know. (Note that Reynolds uses the term casually, as if it would already be known to his readers; so there could well be an earlier citation somewhere. But I cannot find one.)

Note that an Andrew Sullivan piece entitled "The Pathology of Robert Fisk" and posted December 9, 2001, is credited by Wikipedia as being the birth of fisking, even though the term itself is not used. In the piece, Sullivan refutes line by line (that is, he engages in the practice that would become known as fisking) an article by Fisk, a British journalist. In the target article, Fisk describes being set upon by an Afghan mob. But notably, Fisk writes that not does he not blame the mob, but he would have done the same in their place. Here is an excerpt from Fisk's piece:
They started by shaking hands. We said "Salaam aleikum" – peace be upon you – then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn't see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn't blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.
Related post on the history of fisking here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Jewish Republican

Just found a short David Brooks video on being a Jewish Republican.

(If the picture does not work in the above New York Times link, try opening it directly here.)

Navasky/CJR tidbit

Mediacrity notes that Victor Navasky's bio on The Nation's web site contains no mention of Navasky's role at Columbia Journalism Review, where Navasky holds the tiltle of chairman.

This comes in the wake of notice that Navasky is still missing from CJR's online masthead six weeks after his title of chairman was announced and months after he de facto assumed the role.

This scares me

From the Counterterrorism Blog's account of Steve Emerson's recent Senate testimony on terror financing:
At the hearing, Steve stated that "We are now behind the curve" in pursuing terrorist financing, and he described the current US government counterterrorism structure as a "massive 'Rube Goldberg' machine that works but could be 1,000 times better." He also discussed how several U.S. charities which funded terrorists overseas, and were shut down after the 9-11 attacks, have reconstituted themselves. He criticized the Saudi government's lack of diligence in halting terrorist funding.

CJR Daily's Lovelady declines debate on war coverage; calls debate host names instead

Mark Yost of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has critiqued media coverage of the war in Iraq. He compares the news that's reported to the news he hears from friends in the military, and he concludes essentially that it's no wonder reporters are despised.

Steve Lovelady of CJR Daily responds on Romenesko's web site that the reporters at Knight Ridder, who have "consistently exposed the lies at the heart of the Iraq invasion," have an obligation to attack Yost:
There he is, guys. Go get him. You owe your readers no less.
Jeff Jarvis sees the opportunity for an interesting discussion between Yost and Lovelady on coverage of the war, so he invites them to participate in an online debate on his web site.

Lovelady declines and calls Jarvis an "intellectually dishonest schmuck."

You can read the whole account here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The New York Post defends Karl Rove.

NEA promotes liberal politics at annual meeting. Also occasionally mentions education.

Captain Ed writes about the Natioal Education Association's annual meeting agenda:
If I wanted to parody the NEA, I couldn't draft a better list than this. Anyone arguing that this special-interest group has the welfare of children as its first priority should read this list carefully and often.
Some of his evidence: There are 14 items on the agenda before the first item that directly pertains to educating children. Matter of fact, only two of the top 30 items directly relate to educating children. Five of the top 20 involve Social Security politics. (Wonder where the NEA stands on this? - Ed. See asterisk below.*) And somehow the NEA managed to squeeze in resolutions demanding US withdrawal from Iraq, defeat of CAFTA, supporting the boycott of Gallo Wines.

I'd add that the NEA also somehow found time in its agenda for resolutions on promotion of "strong public programs and institutions in the face of increasing privatization" and education on "the regressive taxation practices of the Federal Government." What, the NEA politically biased?

Here is the list itself.

* Here's how the NEA stands on Social Security reform. Surprise, surprise:
In accord with the NEA Legislative Program, NEA shall develop and implement a communications plan to inform members of the adverse consequences associated with any effort to either directly or indirectly divert Social Security Trust Fund surplus amounts to private accounts within Social Security.
(Hat tip: Neolibertarian Network.)

Navasky still not on CJR online masthead

44 days after this blog revealed that Victor Navasky was running Columbia Journalism Review without being listed in the masthead, and 43 days after CJR told the press that Navasky would appear on the masthead as chairman, Navasky's name is nowhere to be found on CJR's online masthead.

The top people listed are executive editor Michael Hoyt and publisher Evan Cornog, both of whom presumably report to Navasky.

To date, nobody at CJR has publicly commented on the issues surrounding the hiring of Navasky. (The dean of Columbia Journalism School did issue one note on Navasky's role in the wake of public exposure of that role.) So far, not a single mention by CJR (or its blog) of the potential concerns--perceived or real--of having a high-profile ideologist of the left running the "neutral" media watchdog; not a mention of the inappropriateness of having a controversial person holding the reins of the magazine while not being listed on the masthead.

Why the silence?

Kincaid tidbit on Navasky, opinion journalism and media bias

From a Cliff Kincaid column today on media bias:
Victor Navasky, publisher of The Nation and now chairman of the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times under the headline, "Objectivity is Highly Overrated." He argued for more "opinion journalism" from the media.

He'll get his wish. The trouble is that the opinion journalism is being provided under the cover of objective reporting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A quibble with Victor Davis Hanson: Saddam, not US, cause of Gulf War I

Let me stipulate upfront that anything written by Victor Davis Hanson, plugged by Betsy Newmark and called a must-read by Hugh Hewitt is typically an article I'll wholeheartedly support.

Hanson's latest, "The Iraqi Wars: Our 15-year conflict with Iraq," contains his typically shrewd perspective. But it also contains a line with which I take exception: Hanson writes that the First Iraqi war in 1991 was
a response to years of appeasement of Iraq, American mixed signals during the Iran-Iraq War, and clumsy diplomacy.

The First Iraqi War was the US's response to a power-hungry dictator's attack on a sovereign nation for the purposes of increasing his oil supply and setting himself up better to face Saudi Arabia. I do not quibble with the statements that the US engaged in clumsy diplomacy, appeased Saddam and sent mixed signals. Nor do I deny that these may have helped embolden Saddam. But it was Saddam's troops, not US diplomats, who invaded and occupied Kuwait.

Remember earlier this year when radical Islamists caused riots on the heels of some shoddy Newsweek reporting? It was the radical Islamists, not Newsweek journalists, who were to blame for the resulting death and mayhem.

And in 1991 Saddam invaded Kuwait on the heals of some clumsy diplomacy. But in 1991, as in 2005, it was Saddam who was to blame for the resulting death and mayhem.

Here is what I wrote in the wake of the Newsweek story:

After 9/11, some pundits distastefully and inaccurately tried to blame the atrocities on American behavior and policy: What did we do that made those people mad, and how can we stop doing it in the future? Those pundits were wrong.

Those who put the blame for the recent deaths on Newsweek are just as wrong.

The issues are separate in fact and in import: To the degree that Newsweek is broken, it must be fixed in the interests of good journalism and a properly informed public. To the degree that Islamist extremism is causing death and mayhem, it must be eliminated in the interests of national and global security.

It has some relevance today.

Lather, rinse, repeat

Check out Betsy Newmark's twelve stages of a Bush administration scandalette.

For those who don't know, Newmark is the blogger "whose writing reveals a no nonsense approach to current events infused with wisdom, historical perspective and a conservative tilt." (Couldn't have written it better myself.)

CJR's Lovelady on the "lies" that led to the Iraq invasion

Mediacrity notes that CJR Daily managing editor Steve Lovelady, in a letter to Jim Romenesko, pretty well exposes his poloitical bias when he writes of "the lies at the heart of the Iraq invasion."

Logan Anderson, an editor of the Lynchburg News & Advance replies, also in a letter to Romenesko:
Anytime someone dares to call into question the motives of the media, we can count on Lovelady to come to the defense of the far-left extreme....

The predictability of Steve Lovelady and the Columbia Journalism Review
has become something of a joke over the course of the last few years. They're preaching to the choir while lecturing a public that increasingly writes off both of them as useless relics.
Mediacrity adds to Anderson's thoughts:
Time for [CJR's] editors to come clean about their organ's open ideological bias. It's not a journalism review. It's just another far-left opinion journal.

Child car seats no help for kids over 2?

The guys who wrote Freakonomics have studied the data, and they don't think child safety seats or booster seats save lives of kids over two. Seat belts, they say, are just as safe:
In recent crashes and old ones, in big vehicles and small, in one-car crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes, there is no evidence that car seats do a better job than seat belts in saving the lives of children older than 2.
The whole article is in the New York Times Magazine.

Hamas leader on co-existence with Israel: "Israel will disappear from the face of the earth"

Next time someone suggests making concessions to radical Islamists in order to stop the root causes of terrorism, think about what the terrorists have to say on the matter:
Hamas will not compromise on one inch of Greater Palestine, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian newspaper earlier this week.

Speaking to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, al-Zahar said Hamas would "definitely not" be prepared for coexistence with Israel should the IDF retreat to its 1967 borders.

"It can be a temporary solution, for a maximum of 5 to 10 years. But in the end Palestine must return to become Muslim, and in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the earth."
(Via Hugh Hewitt.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

On the New York Times attributing stories to blogs

Newspapers typically give credit to other sources for breaking a story, whether those sources be other papers or blogs. Recently, however, the New York Times seems, in spite of its own policy, to be foregoing giving appropriate attribution.

Here are two examples of papers crediting blogs:
  • Here a daily newspaper (New York Sun) gave credit to a blog for breaking a story:
    While Mr. Lemann intended Mr. Navasky to oversee CJR, his exact role at the magazine wasn't agreed upon until this week, after a New York-based blogger, who goes by the name David M, wrote on Tuesday of the CJR's high profile hire. Shortly after that blog entry, Mr. Lemann and Mr. Navasky settled on the title of "chairman," and said Mr. Navasky's name would be on the masthead in the next issue of CJR. [My emphasis.]
  • Here the online version of a newspaper (Wall Street Journal) gave a blog credit for original research via a link in an op-ed column:
    A blogger computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.
  • (Aren't those examples a tad self-serving? - ed. Yes, but the PR staff just isn't getting the job done.)
Both the above examples would be in accord with the attribution policy of the New York Times, a policy which seems reasonable to me. This is excerpted from the "Other People?’s Reporting" section of the Times' Guidelines on Integrity:
Our preference, when time and distance permit, is to do our own reporting and verify another organizationÃ?’s story; in that case, we need not attribute the facts. But even then, as a matter of courtesy and candor, we credit an exclusive to the organization that first broke the news. [My emphasis.]
Although the Sun and the Journal appear to to be in accord with the Times' guideline, the Times does not. On July 3, the paper ran a piece on Jim Romenesko's salary entitled "For One Blogger, Fun and Profit." While the piece mentioned the anonymous blog Mediacrity, it neglected to mention that Mediacrity broke the story. Oops. Mediacrity then publicized that the Times had ripped off the story without appropriate attribution and e-mailed the paper.

The Times e-replied to Mediacrity that the paper would consider correcting the record if Mediacrity would forego anonymity:
If you will give your name, we will consider running a correction.
Someone at the Times seemed to be unfortunately confusing the Times' attribution policy (a good policy) with the Times' newfound effort to reduce reliance on anonymous sources (another good policy). As I have written elsewhere, Mediacrity's anonymity should in no way change the Times' obligation to "credit an exclusive to the organization that first broke the news," in accordance with the paper's own guideline.

When Mediacrity appealed to Byron Calame, the Times' public editor, Calame's response smacked of circling the wagons, to my mind not an appropriate role for the public editor.

Stay tuned.

Aid to Africa must address misgovernment

Via Instapundit, a Max Boot column on aid to Africa:
The solution being promoted by Live 8 is simple: Send beaucoup bucks. The anti-poverty campaigners are grouchy because the wealthy world spends only 0.25% of its gross national income on aid — a mere $76.8 billion last year. They want to nearly triple that, to 0.7% of GNI.

The United States, in particular, is castigated for its stingy development budget — only 0.16% of GNI. This obscures the fact that, in absolute terms, the U.S. government spends far more on foreign aid ($19 billion last year) than any other nation. And that's only a small part of our total contribution. Thanks in part to our lower tax rates, Americans give far more to charity than do Europeans. If you include private-sector donations, the Hudson Institute finds, U.S. foreign aid totals $81 billion, or 0.68% of GNI — close to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. And that's not counting the billions the U.S. spends to subsidize global security or the billions more it sends abroad as investment capital....

In the last 50 years, $2.3 trillion has been spent to help poor countries. Yet Africans' income and life expectancy have gone down, not up, during that period, while South Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations that received little if any assistance have moved from African-level poverty to European-level prosperity thanks to their superior economic policies.

Economists who have studied aid projects have found numerous reasons for the failures. In many instances, money was siphoned off by corrupt officials. Even when funds did reach the intended beneficiaries, the money often distorted local markets for goods and labor, creating inflation that drove local businesses out of business....

Africans continue to be tormented not by the G-8, as anti-poverty campaigners imply, but by their own politicos, including Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who is abetting genocide in Darfur, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is turning his once-prosperous country into a famine-plagued basket case. Unless it's linked to specific "good governance" benchmarks (as with the new U.S. Millennium Challenge Account), more aid risks subsidizing dysfunctional regimes.

Any real solution to Africa's problems must focus on the root causes of poverty — mainly misgovernment. Instead of pouring billions more down the same old rat holes, maybe the Live 8 crew should promote a more innovative approach: Use the G-8's jillions 2 hire mercenaries 4 the overthrow of the 6 most thuggish regimes in Africa. That would do more to help ordinary Africans than any number of musical extravaganzas.

On Karl Rove's web of evil

Greg Gutfield's uncle, via Betsy:
Right from day one, Karl Rove cemented his link with the religious right, by being born on Dec 25, 1950, a day many on the right refer to as “Christmas," a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ (an influential leader worshiped by the religious right.) It was no surprise that Dec 25, 1950 was ALSO the same EXACT day Communist forces recrossed the 38th parallel into South Korea. Clearly, Rove was already making an impact.

"This is what he does," says one observer.

WaPo takes on bloggers

The Washington Post smears anonymous bloggers. John Hawkins is unimpressed. David M's breaking of the Navasky/CJR story is mentioned.

2005 will be the longest year since '98

An extra second will be added to 2005 to make up for the slowing down of the Earth's rotation, officials said this week.

Leap seconds were apparently common practice from 1972 to 1998, but have not happened since then.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mark Steyn on the British reaction

Mark Steyn today:
Anyone who knows Britain knows the citizenry don't incline naturally to appeasement, but anyone who knows their political elites knows the same cannot be said quite so clearly for their governing class.

Today we stand with Britain

G8 leaders on London terrorists: We shall prevail. They shall not.

Statement by the G8, the Leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa and the Heads of the International Organisations represented here.
  1. We condemn utterly these barbaric attacks. We send our profound condolences to the victims and their families. All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism. Those responsible have no respect for human life. We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilised people everywhere.

  2. We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values. Nor will we allow it to stop the work of this Summit. We will continue our deliberations in the interests of a better world. Here at this Summit, the world's leaders are striving to combat world poverty and save and improve human life. The perpetrators of today's attacks are intent on destroying human life.

  3. The terrorists will not succeed.

  4. Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies and to defeat those who would impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us. We shall prevail. They shall not.
Here is the video of Tony Blair delivering the statement.

Jay Rosen: CJR "dumb" to keep Navasky off the masthead

Media critic Jay Rosen, thinks that keeping Victor Navasky off the Columbia Journalism Review masthead was "dumb," but apparently not dumb enough for Rosen to mention the matter in his blog. He also cautions against using the whole affair as an "episode in the culture wars."

In response to this post, Rosen e-mailed me the following:
Thanks, Dave. Here is my on the record comment: Not putting him on the masthead when he was supervising the magazine was dumb. And trying to turn this into an episode in the culture wars is dumb too. And while you say you "leave it to others to differentiate between ideologue and ideologist," I think you know full well what I meant when I said that he was a definitely a man of the left and not an ideologue. Cheers.
I summarized my thoughts in the reply I sent to Rosen:
Thanks for the message (which I'll post, together with this note).

I don't think you have much to fear in terms of this becoming an episode in the culture wars. To my knowledge, no columns mentioning the matter have appeared in any high-profile publications. And the media criticism world has been fairly silent both on Navasky's CJR role and the hiding of that role.

Regardless of whether Navasky is an ideologue, it still seems to me that having a man so deeply identified with the left in charge of CJR is likely to move the magazine, perhaps subtly, to the left, even if Navasky makes overt efforts at neutrality.

(For example, I could see hiring being affected since Navasky's personal networks while undoubtedly diverse are likely tilted left; and his very name would, I suspect, tend to draw more job-hunters of the left to apply to the magazine. Also, I imagine that young CJR reporters looking to impress the boss would be likely to choose topics or angles they perceive would strike a sympathetic chord with the boss.)

In any case, the undoubted perception of increased leftward tilt of the magazine seems in and of itself noteworthy.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Romenesko's pay, Mediacrity and The New York Times

I am late to this (which is to say, it's already been touched on by Sullivan, Reynolds and the Times, all of whom have a bit more readership than I).

Mediacrity unearthed from tax filings that Jim Romenesko was making more than $150,000 a year from his blog. Mediacrity speculated (correctly) that I probably make less than that from this blog. In the interest of accuracy, Mediacrity e-mailed me to check that fact. Since I was overseas and technologically challenged, I was unable to reply via e-mail, so I instead commented directly on the Mediacrity blog post.

The New York Times then picked up the story (but unfortunately neglected to link to--or properly credit--Mediacrity) in a piece entitled, "For One Blogger, Fun and Profit":

Who said you can't make money giving away news and opinions on the Internet? Apparently not Jim Romenesko, who runs a popular site devoted to comings and goings in the news media. According to tax records filed by his employer, the Poynter Institute, Mr. Romenesko received $169,187 in salary and other compensation in 2003, making him Poynter's highest-paid nonexecutive.

The income picture for other bloggers and Web columnists is less rosy. Some blog for the fun of it - that is, free. Others generate income through advertising, while others cut deals for, say, free rent. True to form, bloggers have plenty of opinions about Mr. Romenesko's pay. On Mediacrity (which promises "occasional rants on goofs, bias and hypocrisy in the media"), some bloggers congratulated Mr. Romenesko, while others bemoaned how little they made.
The last line in the Times piece is apparently a reference to my comments on the Mediacrity post. However I was not bemoaning anything. As I pointed out in my comments, I make close to zero from blogging, but I also have a day job. Romenesko on the other hand does this professionally. And he has a far, far larger readership than I. I do not begrudge him a penny.

Why is Jay Rosen going easy on CJR over the Victor Navasky matter?

In case you're new to this blog and haven't read my incessant harping on the Columbia Journalism Review/Victor Navasky story, there is some background reading here and here (as well as elsewhere in the June 2005 archives of this site). In short, media watchdog CJR hired Navasky, a leftwing ideologist, to run the publication without putting him on the masthead. Once Navasky's role was revealed in the blogosphere, CJR suddenly decided to list him as the publication's chairman.

One side story is that CJR's blog, CJR Daily has not so far commented on the issue. But CJR Daily's assistant managing editor has apparently laughed about the matter, and its managing editor Steve Lovelady has now weighed in on the matter in the form of comments on media critic Jay Rosen's blog. First Lovelady writes, with an apparent dose of sarcasm, that Navasky is not around the CJR office much:
One of these days, I'm sure I'll meet, or hear from, the elusive Victor Navasky.
I'm told his new book is a must-read, and it's said he's a lovely guy.
Sooner or later, we have to run in to each other.
I'll let you know when it happens.
Stay tuned.
Lovelady follows up (again in a comment on Rosen's blog) with a defense of Navasky's credentials:
And thanks for pointing out in the previous thread that Victor Navasky has neither horns, nor tail nor cloven hoofs. What he has is smarts -- and knowledge about how to make a small opinion magazine, right, left or center, self-sustaining.
That's a valuable commodity.
Notably, none of this has shown up on CJR Daily. And to my knowledge, neither Lovelady nor anyone else affiliated with CJR has commented on the inappropriateness of Navasky's absence from the publication's masthead until Navasky's role was made public by outsiders. Nor, except for Lovelady's brief comment above, has anyone at CJR (to my knowledge) commented on the issues raised by a partisan ideologue running a supposedly neutral publication.

Jay Rosen, a noted media critic who has contributed to both CJR and The Nation, has essentially stayed out of the CJR/Navasky fray on his blog. Based on one comment Rosen wrote--apparently written in response to one of Lovelady's above comments--he has considered, and apparently dismissed, any issues that arise with a "man of the left" running a supposedly centrist watchdog publication. His reasons are apparently twofold:
  1. Rosen sees Navasky as a mediator, not an ideologue. Note however that Navasky calls himself a "card-carrying ideologist" (A Matter of Opinion, p. 269); I leave it to others to differentiate between ideologue and ideologist.
  2. Rosen sees Navasky as a mediator among factions rather that a faction himself. It certainly is plausible that Navasky is a competent mediator. But how can someone "definitely, firmly, deeply a man of the left" not be a faction? Rosen needs to explain a bit more; otherwise he comes off as defending an old friend rather than addressing a serious issue.
Here is Rosen's full comment on the matter:

I know Victor Navasky reasonably well and have for quite some time. I like him and always have. He once told me "public journalism" would take over my life if I didn't watch out. I didn't, and it did. He's an extremely intelligent and sensitive man. Slow to anger. Hard to convince. Learned. Knows a lot about the right, its history since Goldwater and its ideas. Way more than your average mushy-headed centrist newsroom head would. He would, for example, be more open to having a conservative columnist at CJR than most editors because he would think ideology plays a larger role in journalism than journalists sometimes think. (These are my own speculations, not Victor's positions, of course.)

Navasky often says there is an ideology of the right, an ideology of the left, and an ideology of the middle-- which I have found a very useful and reliable observation. Although he is a man highly attuned to ideology and shades of opinion, and definitely, firmly, deeply a man of the left, he is not an ideologue at all. He is used to mediating among factions, not being one.

By many accounts I have heard and read (including Rosen's) Navasky is intelligent and sensitive, cultured and thoughtful. But that is no reason for a serious media critic to avoid addressing the apparent conflicts raised by an avowed leftist at the helm of a supposedly centrist watchdog. And neither Rosen nor any other major media critic has commented on Navasky's absence from the masthead.
Update: A response from Jay Rosen and some further thoughts here.

And Mediacrity writes about Steve Lovelady's comments here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bush on aid to Africa

Some highlights from President Bush's recent speech on progress in Africa:

In a developing world, we have an unprecedented opportunity to help other nations achieve historic victories over extreme poverty with policies and approaches that are tested and proven. These victories will require new resources. The United States has tripled overseas development aid to Africa during my presidency. And we're making a strong commitment for the future. Between 2004 and 2010, I proposed to double aid to Africa once again, with a primary focus on helping reforming countries.

Yet new resources are not enough. We need new thinking by all nations. Our greatest challenge is to get beyond empty symbolism and discredited policies, and match our good intentions with good results.

  1. First, overcoming extreme poverty requires partnership, not paternalism. Economic development is not something we do for countries, it is something they achieve with us....
  2. Second, overcoming extreme poverty goes hand-in-hand with improving the environment. Stagnant economies are one of the greatest environmental threats in our world. People who lack food and shelter and sanitation cannot be expected to preserve the environment at the expense of their own survival. Poor societies cannot afford to invest in cleaner, more efficient technologies.... The long-term answer to environmental challenges is the rapid, sustained economic progress of poor nations....
  3. Third, overcoming extreme poverty will require lifting a burden of debt that we know poor nations cannot repay....
  4. Fourth, overcoming extreme poverty will require greater trade. While aid and debt relief can create better conditions for development, it is trade that provides the engine for development....
  5. Fifth, overcoming extreme poverty will require an atmosphere of peace, achieved in some cases by effective active military forces that can end terrible conflicts....
  6. Finally, overcoming extreme poverty will require humanitarian aid that focuses on results, not merely on inputs and other flawed measures of compassion. True compassion is measured by real improvements in the lives of men, women and children. And that is the goal and that is the focus of American policy.

AND IN A RELATED MATTER, who's that politician on stage with Wally Stern?

(Photo: Hudson Institute)

(Photo: The White House)

Update: Video of President Bush's speech (without the introduction) is available from BBC here.

Video of the speech (including the introduction) is available from C-SPAN here, but apparently only through mid-July.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

You read it here first

My reprint of speculation about Sandra Day O'Conner's impending resignation had some merit after all.

By the way, I'm currently in an Internet cafe down the block from Trinity College in Dublin. Just finished a Viking land/sea tour of the city on a vehicle originally made in Michigan for the US military and used in the assault on Normandy. It was then sold to the French military, and eventually to a tourist outfit in Ireland.