Monday, July 05, 2004


Just a warm-up [updated]

You know how, on some days, when facing a mountain of difficult tasks, you take on the most trivial? Well, maybe you don't. But it's definitely one of my weaknesses. Which is why I'm beginning my blogging day with an email I've just sent to Steve Lovelady of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). He's the managing editor of their section known as "The Campaign Desk."

According to their website,

... The Campaign Desk attempts to get inside the news cycle and enrich campaign journalism in real time. Our goal is to straighten and deepen campaign coverage almost as it is being written and produced.

The Desk is politically nonpartisan; its only biases are toward accuracy, fairness, and thoroughness. Its focus is not on what politicians say and do, but on how the press is presenting (or not presenting) the political story to the public. It will monitor not just news reporting, but also political analysis and commentary, assessing the accuracy of the facts behind the argument and the fairness of the framing. It will be a resource not only for conscientious journalists, but also for all citizens who want the best possible version of a free press at a time when it matters most.

That's all well and good, though I might quibble with their next (shall we say?) self-serving sentence--

Columbia Journalism Review is recognized throughout the world as America's premier media monitor.

I haven't seen any polls on that recently--or ever, come to think of it.

In any case, I was reading an article by Agence France Presse (AFP) this morning-- "Bloggers come of age in US presidential race"--in which Mr. Lovelady is quoted.

"It's just the latest manifestation of the vanity press," said Steve Lovelady, managing editor of Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk, that analyzes bloggers as part of its media coverage.

"Most of them don't consider themselves journalists and I'll be the first to tell you that," Lovelady commented.

This did not sit well with my morning coffee. Vanity press, indeed! So I had to fire off a riposte.

Dear Mr. Lovelady,

I just read your quote in the AFP article "Bloggers come of age in US presidential race."

[quote from above]

Most of us don't want to be considered journalists, and I'll be the first to tell you that. It is no accident that journalists, last time I looked, polled below Congressmen in terms of trust.

But a brief example. About a week and a half ago, John Gorenfeld published an article in Slate about the coronation of Rev. Moon in the Dirksen Building.

He is a blogger, and this information has been on his website since the time of its occurrence. I knew about it; anybody who cared knew about it. Only the general public didn't know about it.

Now you would think that the coronation of a religious nut as the Messiah in the Senate Office Building, attended by a number of members of Congress, would have been newsworthy. Well, you would have thought wrong.

Only when Gorenfeld got an article into Slate did this become "news." At this point the NY Times, the Washington Post, the networks and NPR carried the story. But that's all they carried, and NPR carried it somewhat as a "joke." They did not go below the surface to elucidate Moon's enterprises, political connections, history, effects upon the country, whether it be the Washington Times or his enterprises receiving federal dollars to teach virginity. Well, the news is still there--on John Gorenfeld's blog. You can get caught up at

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue blogging away over at Simply Appalling because "connecting the dots" and "giving perspective" is a task that journalists have foresworn.

Handy Fuse

There. I feel better now, so maybe I can get around to telling you about some matters that are really important, such as the latest on Gen. Karpinski and the doings with Iran.

Correction and update

John Gorenfeld's article first appeared in Salon, not Slate. A reader sent in a link to an excellent recap of the Moon affair by Tim Rowland in Hagerstown, Maryland's Herald-Mail Online.

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