Peter Fallow -- Bizarro World Romenesko!!

If there were ever a time for an arrogant, drunken, lazy, ethically challenged and totally fictitious reporter to comment on the state of journalism, it is now!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Blatant editorializing!

After reading this, it's no wonder that USA Today isn't treated with more respect by Professional Journalists.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Clinton's 'sex bracelet'

Wonkette may have to write a clarification for her post on President Clinton's red and blue "sex bracelet."

If, like myself, you are familiar with D.C. sex gossip, you know that is not a sex bracelet, which is something the kids wear. (Though red and blue would seem to have some relevance to Clinton.) It's actually Bill's cock ring. Like most big-schlonged Democrats, he just wears it on his wrist when he's not in "lock-and-load" mode, because it's more comfortable there. Plus, should he ever need it in a hurry, it's well within reach.

The bit about it being knitted by sad little Colombian peasant children was correct, though. Yes, it's a Fair Trade cock ring. Democrats support that sort of thing.

Meet Toby Young

Ladies and gentlemen, I present a journalist after my own heart:

Assigned to profile Nathan Lane, Toby asked the actor "Are you Jewish?" followed by "Are you gay?" At that point Lane's publicist declared the interview over...

Then there was the time Toby cornered Mel Gibson at the Vanity Fair Oscars party the year Gibson swept the Oscars for Braveheart, about the Scottish national hero. Toby wanted to know why Gibson had such a grudge against the English.

Well, I'd certainly like to know the answer to those questions. Good on you for asking, Toby.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Pornography in the newspaper

Predictably, this piece of puerile filth was written by self-described right-wing warmonger Mark Steyn. (See below.) I can't believe they let this bit about Bill Clinton, one of America's best presidents (everybody I know voted for him -- twice!), get into print:

On CBS tonight, Sixty Minutes will be running its in-depth one-hour interview with the former president, in which he reveals that he regards his impeachment as a "badge of honour". "I don't see it as a stain," he says, "it" being the impeachment, not the DNA evidence. "I stood up to it and beat it back."

Clinton and the veteran news anchor Dan Rather are reported to have hugged each other on camera. No word on whether the president also made Dan wear the Monica beret and the little blue cocktail dress, but from the pre-released excerpts it sounds highly likely.

Mr Clinton also expands on the details of his belated confession to Hillary. In Mrs Clinton's version (from last year's unreadable doorstopper autobiography), she says she could "hardly breathe" and was "gulping for air", which sounds more like Monica's problem.

A passage like this is so completely at odds with the British media's usual standards of decorum and good taste, that I am at a loss to respond.

We are not amused...

If this is satire, well, it certainly isn't funny to me.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Socking it to Steyn

I am delighted to see that someone by the name of Dan Kennedy from something called the Boston Phoenix has put the tongs to Mark Steyn, the fulminating right-wing polemicist with the vaguely Jewish-sounding name.

If anyone ever needed a "woodshedding," it's him. Kennedy's headline says it all: "Write, twist, smear, and sneer. Repeat!"

So true, and so typical of the right. That's the kind of label you could never hang on crusading columnists such as Paul Krugman, Robert Scheer, Eric Alterman or Joe Conason. (Conason's also quoted in the piece.) Great journalists, all.

I don't care if Steyn is "the most toxic right-wing pundit you’ve never heard of" or "not well known in the United States." It also doesn't matter that he's not even well known to newspaper readers in Boston, the city whose coffee shops and used-record stores are the main circulation venues for Kennedy's brave little Boston Phoenix. (Steyn's syndicated column doesn't run in the Boston Globe or the Boston Herald, so consider yourself lucky, Beantown.) But Kennedy, perceptive genius that he is, correctly points out that this Canadian wingnut's "political screeds are published in English-speaking countries around the world." (Though not so often in Canada anymore, it seems.)

Hear, hear. I think it's worth publishing a 4,000-word anti-Steyn essay in a weekly newspaper in Boston if there's even a slim chance that it could change just one mind in Auckland. Or Toronto.

And I especially liked this bit:

"The effect, in all too many instances, is of a second-rate Maureen Dowd — that is, of a writer who makes the same kind of pop-culture analogies as the New York Times columnist, only without the deft touch."

That's the part that will stick in his war-mongering craw the most:

"Mark Steyn, when it comes to pop-culture analogies, you, sir, are no Maureen Dowd!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Geneva Overholser's reading material

Geneva Overholser has responded to feedback generated by her Poynter column on "liberal media bias" (I commented on it here):

Some reporting on this issue
Posted by Geneva Overholser 6/15/2004 8:20:32 PM

"The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy" by David Brock (yes, I know: no need to send me the "documented liar" characterizations) has some interesting reporting on this issue. I recommend it highly.

Yes! David Brock! Truly, one of my heroes. But come on, Gen. That "documented liar" bit is a little unfair, don't you think? (Don't worry, Ms. Overholser, Pulitzer-winning ombudsperson; I won't send these links to you.)

Considering that Gen's column was about the lack of media skepticism regarding WMD intelligence during the run-up to the Iraqi war, I think her point is unassailable:

To the Professional Journalist, a defector from the right wing such as Brock carries infinitely more credibility than a handful of Saddam's former top scientists who defected to the West.

No argument here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

It's all about the humans...

The conservative "media critics" at TimesWatch have gotten their knickers in a twist over a New York Times article on civilian deaths during the war in Iraq. And what has gotten those people so upset?

Sunday's front-page story by Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt, "Errors Are Seen In Early Attacks On Iraqi Leaders," comes courtesy of the left-wing anti-war group Human Rights Watch -- and, critics say, unaccompanied by military knowledge and historical perspective. ...

In the sixth paragraph, Jehl and Schmitt reveal their left-wing source: "A report in December by Human Rights Watch, based on a review of four strikes, concluded that the singling out of Iraqi leadership had 'resulted in dozens of civilian casualties that the United States could have prevented if it had taken additional precautions.' The poor record in the strikes has raised questions about the intelligence they were based on, including whether that intelligence reflected deception on the part of Iraqis, the officials said. The March 19, 2003, attempt to kill Mr. Hussein and his sons at the Dora Farms compound, south of Baghdad, remains a subject of particular contention."

What's the problem here? It's "HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH," people! It's obvious from the name that this organization watches out for, you know, humans and their rights. Sounds like a group that's dedicated to "comforting the afflicted," just like us in the news business! What's so controversial about that?

I hope I never become as cynical as the moral cretins at TimesWatch, because the day I stop caring about the humans is the day I leave this business.

Monday, June 14, 2004


Geneva Overholser does the big-picture-journalism version of the Icky Shuffle in response to the New York Times' Page 10 clarification regarding its reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Overholser correctly declares victory over all those right wingers who go on and on about "liberal media bias." She does this by pointing out that the New York Times, of all places, is admitting it helped lead us into what my colleague Robert Fisk has called "this filthy war." The Times did this by failing to seek other sources for its WMD reporting beyond Iraqi defectors and high-level individuals in the U.S. intelligence community, when there were so many other sources out there that could have debunked the lie that Saddam Hussein ever had weapons of mass destruction.

Much like Overholser, I'm at a loss to name who these "alternative" sources might be, but never mind.

It's just so gratifying to say "Suck on that, conservatives!"

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Posted without comment...

A fictitious journalist tries to find work.

Try the City Light, Marshall. They're always hiring.

Enough with Reagan, already!

Huzzah and kudos to Wonkette for proving beyond a doubt that conservative complaints about "the liberal media" are nothing but a sham.

Our saucy young correspondent points out -- correctly -- that Tuesday's political talk shows on cable news networks were heavily slanted toward former staff members of that dead proto-fascist Ronald Reagan. (They should have had the editorial staff of The Nation on TV all day instead, just to set the record straight about Reagan's life and policies.)

Mrs. Wonkette's point about the recent glut of "Gipperporn" is unassailable. I remember the last presidential funeral, for Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1973. Sure enough, there was no steady parade of his former friends and advisers marching onto the sets at CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, CNBC or even ABC's "Nightline." And I may be mistaken, but Internet news sites and blogs COMPLETELY IGNORED Johnson's death back in 1973!

Fucking liberal media, indeed.

You know what we need to counteract this barrage of free publicity for the GOP? We need a former Democratic president (Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton will do) to die. Like, right now. And not some wimpy heart attack or anything like that. Something spectacular.

Hmmm. We could put Hillary on it. She's a sneaky little shit.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Good advice from Howell Raines

Howell Raines, the non-partisan former editor of the New York Times whom my shoeshine boy Jayson is not particularly fond of for some reason, offers John Kerry the kind of balanced, middle-of-the-road political advice you'd expect from a true Professional Journalist.

The fact that this was published in a British newspaper only adds to its credibility.

Reagan has finally died. Goodie!

I can't tell you how happy I am about the death of that old windbag Ronald Reagan. The vast majority of my colleagues agree. As we were poring over the pages and pages of coverage The City Light produced this past weekend, one of my colleagues exclaimed, "I can sum up Reagan's death in two words: Good riddance!"*

(*I can personally testify that this quote is the most truthful thing ever published on this blog up to this point. - ed.)

A fake sex scandal? Is that possible?

I am back from holiday and I am shocked, SHOCKED, that someone would just make up stories involving sex and famous political figures of the right.

It's been my experience that people who have these important stories to tell are always truthful, even when they fudge some minor personal details such as their age and whether they actually graduated from college.