My goal this morning is to get the blog updated and a story written about the budget meeting at my local city council in the next 75 minutes. Hang on, folks — we’re going to see just how fast mommy can screw things up this morning.
Fortunately, I have supplemented last night’s 5.5 hours of sleep with three cups of coffee.
And I already edited and posted one story from my intern. Because that’s how hyperlocal online news runs these days — all the meetings happen early in the week. That makes for a miserable Monday and Tuesday, but by Thursday, the air smells like Weekend.
My intern’s story was on the first budget meeting of the year for the school board, which is facing the possibility of seeing $5.8 million in cuts if the governor’s budget goes through as proposed, a pretty hard swallow for a 8,500-pupil district. That means larger class sizes at a bare minimum and the usual no-more-this, can’t-have-that elsewhere in the district. I used to marvel sometimes that pretty much the last decade of my newspaper career — and, really, many years before that — were spent in a fiscal environment where all you knew for certain was that next year would suck more than this year. Now, the whole country lives like this. (Well, except for Goldman Sachs. And General Electric. Et cetera.) I always knew I’d find my true calling as a canary in a coal mine.
Speaking of sucking and newspapers, my alma mater — which I have taken to describing as the paper I might have worked at, had I not been in that tragic, 20-year coma from 1984-2004 — is in a minor ethical kerfuffle, thanks to its sports editor’s tweeting. I hope you all understand how hard it is for a person of a certain age to think of tweeting as serious communication worthy of sustained attention, but that’s what you get in a world where Sarah Palin is looked up to. Anyway, evidently the sports editor advised a recent Indiana University basketball recruit to play for Butler instead, his alma mater. In a tweet. Which ended with the phrase, “Go ‘Dawgs!”
I guess this is a problem. I guess some people consider this recruiting, and it’s a blow to the hard work of many who have tried to give sports departments more respect. I see their point, although every sports department I’ve ever worked near has fanboys galore. Still, journalism is journalism, and you’re supposed to keep this stuff to yourself.
Bill Sammon, who’s responsible for the network’s Washington coverage, linked Obama to socialism many times during the 2008 campaign, but didn’t believe the allegation, he acknowledged. In the final stretch of the 2008 campaign, a Fox News executive repeatedly questioned on the air whether Barack Obama believed in socialism.
Now it turns out he didn’t really believe what he was saying.
Bill Sammon, now the network’s vice president and Washington managing editor, acknowledged the following year that he was just engaging in “mischievous speculation” in raising the charge. In fact, Sammon said he “privately” believed that the socialism allegation was “rather far-fetched.”
OK. Now, to me, this is a scandal at the very, very least on a par with the recent NPR affair. This guy isn’t a fundraiser on contract, but a bureau chief in the nation’s capital, i.e., the very person in charge of directing and shaping the network’s coverage of Washington, D.C. And he was being “mischievous” with repeatedly making a charge that the Democratic candidate was a socialist, something a vast segment of his
readership viewership takes as an article of faith.
I can’t fucking stand it. I just can’t.
The audio of that speech is nauseating — the amount of back-scratching, log-rolling and ass-kissing in the first two minutes alone is just vile. “My good friend James Carville,” “his lovely wife Mary Matalin,” “my old friends from Hillsdale.” Urgh.
But then, what is GOP politics at this point but a giant vaudeville act. Donald Trump, born-again birther, wants the governor of Hawaii “investigated,” he tells Fox ‘n’ Friends. What is this, a performance art piece? No other explanation makes any sense. Also:
“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” Trump asked. “I wish he would, because I think it’s a terrible pale that’s hanging over him.”
What is “a terrible pale?” Can someone explain?
OK, well. I have a budget story to write in the next…42 minutes. So I best go. Let the above be your bloggage, although I close on yet another journalism-related nugget. Alan and I saw “Kill the Irishman” last weekend, a film about a Cleveland gangster named Danny Greene, whose compelling story and Belfastian death would make a pretty good movie someday. Alas, “Kill the Irishman” isn’t it. But a guy I know had a small part in it, and Ray Stevenson, aka Titus Pullo in “Rome” a few years back, played the lead, so it seemed worth the time.
There are two shots in the movie where we look over a character’s shoulder at the front page of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s muscular, dominant newspaper and at the time the film covers, the best daily in Ohio. I always look at the other stories on prop pages like this, because I know that’s where the art department’s inside jokes go. I was able to read two. One was:
and the other was:
Somewhere, an editor is weeping.