LogoPhere Home
LogoPhere Blog - WordPress version


"--takin' the BS outa' the BlogoSphere (and MSM) one shovel-full at a time "




-- Daily Darts for Sep10.2014 --



Huffpo's Michael Calderone's testicular short-comings 

I'm working on a piece about ISIS and Obama's coming flip from Nobel Peace Prize laureate to war crimes criminal, but the research keeps sinking deeper in mud and the so article's publication keeps getting pushed back.  That's the way it is when writing without deadlines -- publishing dates are more sporadic but the end product is more polished and reliable.  Hopefully.  In the mean time, here are some thoughts I had when reading today's HuffPo piece by Michael Calderone regarding the New York Time's reporting on ISIS. 

You know how a lot of these blogosphere writers are . . . they don't have that much to say about the world but they always have plenty to say about the NYT.  It just amazes me how much digital ink is spilled blathering on about the NYT as if the medium is the message . . . Oh, wait.  Has somebody already said that?  

And usually, as in Calderon'e article, it's like the NYT is not just the medium and the message, it's the messenger, too.  I mean to read Calderone's piece you wouldn't know there were any reporters involved -- the paper writes itself.  He drones on and on -- not about what is happening in the world but about what he reads in the NYT, minus any mention of or attribution to those who wrote what he reads. 

Mostly Calderone is talking about how in the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2002-2003, the NYT just really fucked it.  The NYT executive editor at the time was Howell Raines, and the neocon NYT reporter who took most of the heat for incompetent or dishonest reporting about weapons of mass destruction, mobile bioweapons labs, etc. was the now infamous Judith Miller. But nowhere in his retrospective does Calderone mention either of them.  Instead of naming names himself, this journalistic coward links to Michael Massing's 2004 classic article in the New York Review of Books that pretty much tore Miller to shreds, which is how she should have been torn.  

Here are five clips from Calderone's anemic verbiage to support my criticism:

  • Calderone: "In 2002 and 2003, Times editors gave prominent space to now-discredited reporting bolstering the Bush administration's case for war, while downplaying reporting that questioned it." 
    Calderone fails to mention who the guilty parties were: Executive Editor Howell Raines, who was forced out a few months after the Iraq invasion (Wiki) and reporter Judith Miller, who was severely criticized by her own paper for her reporting failures, jailed for contempt of court, "retired" from the NYT, and went to work for FOX, where she really belonged all the time. 
  • Calderone: "On Wednesday night, the Times challenged the perceived severity of the threat in an article that also ran on the front page of Thursday’s paper."
    Calderone does not name the authors – Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt, Mark Landler.
  • Calderone: "Friday’s Times led with a report on regional allies  offering only "tepid" support for Obama's plan. The story included contributions from seven reporters in the region, including one in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the Islamic State."
    Calderone does not name the authors – Anne Barnard & David D. Kirkpatrick.
  • Calderone: "Also on Friday, the Times ran a front-page story  questioning the military readiness of the Syrian opposition in a fight against the Islamic State."
    Calderone does not name the authors -- Ben Hubbard, Eric Schmitt, Mark Mazzetti.
  • Calderone: "The Washington Post, in a story leading Friday’s front page, wrote that the U.S. has not managed to eradicate al Qaeda or related terrorist groups since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and yet Obama now has pledged to "destroy" the Islamic State."
    Calderone does not name the authors -- Greg Miller & Craig Whitlock.

My point is a simple one: newspapers don't write themselves, not even the omniscient ones like NYT.  The good stuff, the lousy stuff, and the dishonest stuff are all written by humans with names, and those humans ought to be acknowledged for writing good stuff, and they ought to be criticized for writing lousy stuff, and they ought to be excoriated for writing dishonest stuff.  By name.  And that 3-part rule is what this post is about.

I doubt that Calderone will ever write a powerful, classic piece like Michael Massing's because Calderone just doesn't have the journalistic mettle to write the truth -- all of it, including the names. IOW, Huffington Post is a good place for him.  

-- Denis O'Brien, Sep12.2014





















Copyright, Denis O'Brien, 2005-2016 ~ ~ All rights reserved.