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The Things That Astound The Washington Post

Posted by John Pegway | Posted in Washington Post, Washington, DC | Posted on 30-06-2008


In today’s Post, Bob Kaiser’s focus on focus groups and Peter Hart has this adorable nugget:

Hart reported these reactions to the Mondale campaign, which quickly produced a new television commercial featuring a red telephone with a flashing orange light. A narrator intoned:

“The most awesome, powerful responsibility in the world lies in the hand that picks up this phone. The idea of an unsure, unsteady, untested hand is something to really think about. This is the issue of our times. On March 20, vote as if the future of the world is at stake. Mondale. This president will know what he’s doing. And that’s the difference between Gary Hart and Walter Mondale.”

Mondale won in Georgia, and kept this ad on the air in all the states that later held primaries. “The Hart people never had an answer to it,” Peter Hart recalls.

(Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, that 1984 Mondale commercial can be seen by going to www.youtube.com and searching for “Mondale Video 10.”) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fu-2Ew1ijg .

Ah yes, the “wonders of YouTube,” that mystifying sorcery device we find on our Google machines.

Too intimated to search “Mondale Video 10″?  You can also magically find it by searching “Walter Mondale Phone Ad 1984.”  And even “I’m with Bob Kaiser, YouTube is amazing Mondale 1984 ad phone.”
Will wonders never cease?


Broder Can You Paradigm?

Posted by Victoria Reynolds | Posted in 2008 campaign, Presidential Election, Washington Post | Posted on 29-12-2007


Worshippers at the altar of bipartisanship and mockers of David Broder alike can rejoice together — Amen! Hallelujah! There truly is common ground.

This headline in the Sunday Washington Post over a David Broder article should please both worthy camps:  “Bipartisan Group Eyes Independent Bid; First, Main Candidates Urged To Plan ‘Unity’ Government.”

We love it when life imitates ridicule.

Getting Noisy In Boise

Posted by Victoria Reynolds | Posted in Congress, Washington Post | Posted on 30-08-2007


Reading today’s Washington Post coverage of Larry Craig, we chuckled at the first average Idahoan they presented to get colorful condemnation of the Senator.

Paragraph three.  A beautician.

“I voted for him before, but I wouldn’t vote for him again, because I don’t believe him,” said beautician Linda Anderson, 45.

Nah, no stereotypes there, eh?  Further down, we spot another curious place for a stake-out.   A Boise punk-rock bar.

“It’s because it’s a lying thing,” said Karsten Roberts, nursing a drink at a punk-rock bar in downtown Boise. “You’re representing your constituents, and you shouldn’t lie to them. I don’t think it comes down to being gay, straight, lesbian or bi.”

Extreme Mortman has never been to Boise — or Idaho — or even a Minneapolis airport bathroom, for that matter — but our prejudiced wariness makes us want to react this way: Huh?  A punk-rock bar in Boise?

Well, that’s why we shouldn’t prejudge the even-tempered, libertarian people of Idaho.  A half-hearted, mostly boring Google search reveals that, indeed, there is a punk-rock bar in Boise — or, at least a place to hear punk music.   It’s called The Big Easy, and this might be the hotbed of Craig hatred the Post penetrated:

The paper also points out that on Wednesday, Craig went on vacation.  No doubt Post reporters will be staking out Fire Island.

The Washington Post Is “Very Right-Wing”?

Posted by John Pegway | Posted in Washington Post | Posted on 27-07-2007


That might come as a surprise to many people — particularly those who read the newspaper.
But apparently not to Tony Blair’s press secretary Alastair Campbell.

We read this in the Post’s Sunday Book World review of his massive new book “The Blair Years”:

Visits to Washington and dealings with U.S. administrations inevitably figure large in his account. Campbell was dazzled by Bill Clinton, spooked by Dick Cheney, and respectful (at least in the published version) of George W. Bush, with whom he discussed drinking problems (Campbell’s was worse than the president’s), running and God (Campbell is a believer in the former and a non-believer in the latter). Visiting this newspaper with Blair in 1996, he found chairman Katharine Graham “impressive” and the editorial board “very right-wing.”

“Very right-wing”?  We’ve been following the Post’s editorial migration toward at least the middle for a while.  (Are we allowed to steal the Left’s terminology and call it “maturation”?  Nah, they’d never allow it.)  But “very right-wing”?  We’d like to read the book to see any evidence.

Let Me Get This New Clinton Joke Off My Chest

Posted by John Pegway | Posted in 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton, Presidential Election, Washington Post | Posted on 27-07-2007


Here’s a joke I wish I would have thought of earlier.

First, the set-up:  Saturday’s Washington Post has this Howard Kurtz piece:

A journalistic assessment of Hillary Clinton’s cleavage became the most improbable presidential campaign controversy yet as her team yesterday rolled out a fundraising letter calling a Washington Post column on the subject “grossly inappropriate” and “insulting.”

One week after the piece, by fashion writer Robin Givhan, took note of the Democratic candidate’s relatively low neckline during a speech on the Senate floor, senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis urged donors to “take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness in American culture.”

That’s all well and fine.

More intriguing, however, is that the Post website again runs this picture:

Above the picture it says “Enlarge This Photo.”So I did.

Ah, they’re right.  Much better that way.  Just like plastic surgery.

Justice Is Served

Posted by Victoria Reynolds | Posted in Washington Post | Posted on 26-07-2007



From today’s Washington Post story on the closing of legendary restaurant A.V. Ristorante — and the impact on equally legendary Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

When Scalia arrived, his party was shown to the justice’s usual spot, a rear room, away from the other diners. At meal’s end, he walked to the old metal cash register to pay and say goodbye to the owners.

“We’re going to miss you,” Scalia said. Vasaio announced that the justice’s last meal was on the house.

On the house?  We know you can’t do that for members of Congress anymore.  But can Supreme Court Justices still get their pizza with red anchovies comped?  We’ll let the lawyers decide.

The Price Of Blogging

Posted by John Pegway | Posted in blogs, Washington Post | Posted on 27-05-2007


Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell says “I’ll think about it” when challenged to start a blog.

That lack of certainty over a blog’s value is something only she can tackle.

But in today’s same Outlook section, we find more resolve — and tragic results — from Egyptian freedom blogger Wael Abbas:

I am an Egyptian blogger. And the Mubarak regime is out to get me and others like me.

It is engaged in an all-out campaign against those of us who use the Internet to report the truth about what is happening in Egypt. It is spreading rumors about us and targeting us for character assassination. Judges allied with the government have filed lawsuits against more than 50 bloggers, accusing them of blackmail and of defaming Egypt and demanding that their blogs be shut down. Meanwhile, security officials appear on television to claim that the bloggers are violating media and communications laws.

Is this the kind of regime you want your tax money to support?

That tale should influence Howell’s decision. At least if she starts a blog, she won’t be thrown in jail.

Don’t Knock The Post. Knock Knock The Post.

Posted by John Pegway | Posted in Washington Post | Posted on 30-03-2007


Loved Frank Ahrens piece in the Washington Post today: “Post Offers Rewards Program”:

The Washington Post is launching a consumer-rewards program — similar to those long employed by credit card companies — designed to help stem sliding circulation and drive readers to its advertisers.

The program, called PostPoints, begins today and will award both subscribers and non-subscribers points that can be redeemed for a variety of products, including food and airline miles.

Those sound like nice treats, but frankly I’d be looking for something a bit more substantial from the paper.  Like, if you earn enough reward points, the Post puts you on a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative team.  Or the Post serializes your upcoming book starting with the Sunday front page.  Or you can become an unnamed senior official speaking on background.  Or Howard Kurtz qoutes you talking about the daunting new 24/7 news cycle.

But why knock it?  Today Extreme Mortman is taking the Post’s lead and offering a Rewards Program for our loyal readers.  Read this blog and we’ll give you a complimentary non-sequitir knock-knock joke.

Today’s offering:

Knock knock.

Who’s there.

Plummeting newspaper subscription rates and advertising revenue.

Plummeting newspaper subscription rates and advertising revenue who?

Plummeting newspaper subscription rates and advertising revenue I just flew in from Los Angeles and boy are my arms tired from the turbulence.

A gift from us to you.  Thanks for reading.

For MSM, Web 2.0 No Longer Icky, Thanks To Wiki

Posted by Victoria Reynolds | Posted in Washington Post, Web 2.0 | Posted on 24-02-2007


I’ve been arguing for a while that as much as the crusty, snooty palace guards of traditional mainstream media like to come off as being Web 2.0 skeptics, even opponents, they secretly celebrate its prominence, if for no other reason than it gives them something new to report on, let alone scoff.

Consider the Washington Post.

Last weekend it was the front-page Saturday screamer about Facebook boosting Barack Obama.

This weekend, more evidence.  Courtesy Wikipedia.

Saturday’s op-ed page features Cass Sunstein’s piece, “A Brave New Wikiworld.”

Sunday’s Outlook section sports Timothy Noah, “I’m Being Wiki-Whacked.”

Independently, both are solid pieces about Wikipedia.  Taken together, they show that Web 2.0 continues to give MSM something to talk about, perhaps even to be puzzled about.  If content is king, Web 2.0 now rules the land.

Still Open Season On Catholics

Posted by Lauren Michaels | Posted in Washington Post | Posted on 30-12-2006


The constantly-repeated truism of modern American media and political life that the only religious group that’s still fair game for broad attacks and ridicule is the Catholic Church got another boost recently, courtesy a Washington Post op-ed.

Columnist Harold Meyerson wrote last week:

John Paul also sought to build his church in nations of the developing world where traditional morality and bigotry, most especially on matters sexual, were in greater supply than in secular Europe and the increasingly egalitarian United States, and more in sync with the Catholic Church’s inimitable backwardness.

Inimitable backwardness?