November 3, 2006

From a cavernous hotel suite.

I'm in Washington, and I'm missing my New York Times. Say what you will about the New York Times -- as I did myself yesterday -- I still want the it on my doorstep in the morning. But, at least this is Washington, so I can get a real newspaper. I hear the papers flopping onto the floor outside the hotel room doors. Ah! The Washington Post! In person. That will be nice. But, no. What the hell? It's the damned USA Today! If I want colors and little boxes, I'll stay on the web, where the colors and boxes are lit up.

Our first interview is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., which is 6:30 a.m. Central Time. But my patterns are such that I'm up with more than two hours to spare, and I'm the one who doesn't have to go anywhere. I'm in the big suite that everyone else needs to rush over to. It's dead calm now, but it will be full of energy soon enough. Maybe you're one of the individuals slotted for a 20 minute session here later today or tomorrow, and you're picturing this place, trying to think what the interviewing will be like and whether this is the path to your future home and these are your new colleagues.


Gerry said...

Too bad you missed the Times (at least so far). You have missed...

The. Worst. November. Surprise. Ever.

Basically, they confirmed that Saddam had an advanced WMD program, but are spinning it that by posting some memorandums on the web to be translated, the Bush administration exposed bomb-making secrets.

So much for 99% of the anti-war argument.

Steven said...

Hey, USA Today is the only paper in America that's not afraid to tell the truth, that everything is just fine.

Dave said...

USA Today is a low rent, blue collar newspaper.

Say what you will about the Times, but at least its readership is wealthier and more well educated than USA Today's.

You're right to denigrate it.

Gerry said...

"Blue collar" should be denigrated?

David said...

Take pictures of your "Room with a view!"

How was the coffee?

Truly said...

Are they at least putting you up in a posh hotel? The Hay-Adams, say?

mark said...

gerry-- the Times's article says "detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear researcch before the 1991 Persian Gulf war...Last night, the government shut down the web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials."

I think your comment is the "spin", not the Times.

Sloanasaurus said...

The Times in their attempt to discredit Congressional Republicans is supposed to admit that Saddam wanted to develop Nuclear Weapons and actually had some success in getting there.

Too late for Iran to be useful though. They already have everything they need from AQ Kahn who has a proven track record of success (Pakistan, North Korea).

Althouse: I hope you consider hiring a conservative to replace Baldwin - It's good for the law school to at least have 1.

Gerry said...


Read further. "Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away…"

I think Allahpundit asks the correct two questions:

"Exactly how far along was Saddam’s nuclear research that Iran might possibly benefit from it?"


"Why is the IAEA worried about Iran using bombmaking information in their “peaceful nuclear energy program”?"

Or, The Belmont Club:

"The New York Times is complaining that information from Iraq's nonexistent nuclear weapons program that was posted on the web by the Bush administration to disprove the NYT's assertion that Iraq's program didn't exist has helped Iran advance its own existing nuclear weapons program. It's Bush's fault. It is just me, or is something wrong with this train of reasoning?..."

"If Iran, said to be only a short distance from creating its own weapon, could benefit from information that Saddam's Iraq possessed, that necessarily means Saddam's regime was far along the road to seeking a nuclear weapon. Otherwise Iran could not benefit from Saddam's technological base, were it nonexistent or underdeveloped as a threat. You can't get money from an empty till. So either Iraqi nuclear technology existed to the point where it constitutes the threat the NYT decries or it did not much exist and therefore is no threat. One of the two can be true, but not both."

Doyle said...

In his Rolling Stone piece about the McCain 2000 campaign, David Foster Wallace wrote that the most frequently-read paper on the trail was USA Today. Probably owes more to their distribution than anything else, but it's interesting nonetheless.

SteveS said...

After all the comments here yesterday about the Times' liberal bias, it's worth noting that 40% of the above-the-fold cover space today is occupied by a giant, flattering photograph of Bush campaigning, while surrounded by smiling and enthusiastic admirers.

MadisonMan said...

Ann, I have to agree with you. Opening the hotel door to find USA Today is like (searching for an apt metaphor) getting a nice cupcake and finding the frosting is made with Crisco, not butter. It might look good, and it tastes okay, but eeeww. I'd much rather have a local paper, even if I'm in a small town, because I like reading local papers. If I'm in a big city, no question I'd prefer the paper of record there.

gerry, I'm curious which 1% is left. That OBL and what's his name the leader of the Taliban were still alive in Afghanistan? That Iraq had almost nil to do with 9/11? That projections for the evolution of the war in Iraq were ludicrously rosy? That cost estimates were ridiculously low? (It's also not clear to me how this is the Worst -- but I'm operating on little sleep). But some Indie Coffee...Mmmmm.

Ann Althouse said...

SteveS: "After all the comments here yesterday about the Times' liberal bias, it's worth noting that 40% of the above-the-fold cover space today is occupied by a giant, flattering photograph of Bush campaigning, while surrounded by smiling and enthusiastic admirers."

They read my 4:41 post yesterday and responded.

Maxine Weiss said...

I don't want newspapers on a vacation.

Yes, I'm one of the interviewees wondering why I must go through this obselete and superfluous process.

Interviews yield nothing.


Many hiring mistakes are made on the strength of successful interviews.

Love, Maxine

reader_iam said...


Dave, I'm curious as to your age, 'cause I'm guessing you may not know the history of USAToday. It actually caused quite a controversy, at least (though not just) among newspaper folk at the time.

Its target audience isn't actually blue collar. Its distribution pattern doesn't support your thesis.

As for its demographics, based on Media Research Institute (MRI) data, which is the standard, see here and here.

Amazing what people think they know, when in fact they don't.

(By the way, I was one of those people who was pretty scathing of Neuharth's vision back in the day. I'd still take a daily subscription to the NYT any day over USAToday, but I have to settle for Select since I can't get home delivery here.)

Internet Ronin said...

Doyle - I think you are right about distribution probably being the determining factor, but I'd add that the newsbrief section detailing current top stories in every state was also very handy for those on the road without easy access to local media in the next state they were visiting.

reader_iam said...

It's apples and oranges, anyway. Their missions and functions are different, and by design.

reader_iam said...

Most of the road warriors and biz people/corp types I've known (a lot!!!!) use USAToday as sort of a digest, which can be used to point out what might be worth going into elsewhere for more depth.

It sometimes touches upon stuff that isn't dealt with elsewhere BECAUSE it gives such small bits of info.

And, every so often, it even breaks something.

I check the website every now and again, based on alerts, but the only time I read it is--surprise!--when I'm traveling on business (ahem, not the "blue collar" type).

MadisonMan said...

Yes, the Target Audience was definitely not blue collar when USAToday debuted. I lived in one of the first towns it came out in in Pennsylvania back in 1982. I think it was right after Walkmen came out. A Large College town -- definitely not blue collar.

reader_iam said...

I'll bite. Which college town?

Interesting, the connection you drew between the Walkman and USAToday. Both, in their own way, overturned assumptions and re-engineered How We Do things (for good and/or for ill), or at least how we consumed certain things.

The Walkman debuted in '79, but, like you, I don't recall their really being ubiquitous in the U.S. until a couple of years later or so, which would put it into the timeframe of which you're thinking.

Heh. I love the 'net, and, as I've said before, the tangents on which reading Ann's blog sends me. (IMHO, that quality is one of the the three big reasons Althouse is such a successful niche; I've given some thought to that, as it happens.) When I went to verify that my recollection of the Walkman's history was correct, I found this tidbit:

Despite some initial resistance in certain regions, it was later recognized that this strategy [Added: to stick with the "Walkman" name, rather than go with Soundabout] had been correct. The name Walkman became virtually synonymous with headphone stereo products and it even appeared in respected dictionaries abroad as well as in Japan. In 1981, Walkman was listed in Le Petit Larousse, a well-known French dictionary, and in 1986 the name was included in the Oxford English Dictionary. Morita said that nothing made him happier than the fact that Walkman had been accepted around the world as an English word. Moreover, Walkman manuals containing explanation in nine different languages were distributed worldwide.

(Emphasis added.)

Fun Facts For Friday!

(First time in more than two weeks, since starting new gig, that I haven't had an overwhelming crunch deadline to meet. HOOOhaaaah! Thanks for putting up with me today, Ann and all commenters.)

reader_iam said...

The virtual drinks are on me... .

; )

MadisonMan said...

Which college town?

Why, the one I grew up in, of course! The only Large College Town in Pennsylvania!

I remember little about my Walkman. I had a friend who thought they were totally obnoxious. I recall how absolutely amazing Miami 2017 (the Live version) sounded on it -- but that's the only musical memory I have of it. I also clipped out the full-page NYTimes ad of Frankenstein listening to a Walkman and put it on my bedroom door.

reader_iam said...

To bring the threads together, I didn't have to many gadgets in the earlier '80s (no $), but I remember saving for a long time to buy one of the recording Walkmans, which I then primarily used to record various Pa. township meetings (snoooorrrrrre) when I started stringing for a Pa. newspaper. Secondary use was for books on tape. I'm not sure if I used it more than a couple of times for actual music. I was a bit of a snot then about music-delivery systems. What a loser!

But I've redeemed myself since in the portable music department. I think.

Anthony said...

USA Today has a way better sports section than any local paper or the NYT. Unless you really really really want to know only about the local teams, USA Today can't be beat in that regard. An old roomie of mine used to buy it every day during baseball season and then not for the rest of the year.

Shanna said...

Poor Ann, having to make do with
USA Today. That's all you ever get at hotels anymore. But you can pick up the Wash Post at any metro stop and the daily paper used to be a quarter, although thats been a few years.

Dave TN said...

I certainly hope at least one of the people interviewing for a position checks your blog and picks up a Times for you on the way to the interview.

I guess open-toed shoes would be a good move also...

LoafingOaf said...

Anthony said...
USA Today has a way better sports section than any local paper or the NYT. Unless you really really really want to know only about the local teams, USA Today can't be beat in that regard. An old roomie of mine used to buy it every day during baseball season and then not for the rest of the year.

Yup! I buy USA Today a lot during the baseball season too.

I used to subscribe to USA Today and it's not so bad for what it is - something to skim over a quick breakfast. The purple section does a good job for pop culture junkies (though I'm sure it bears much of the blame for movies being judged by box office).

But the Web has mostly replaced newspapers for me, including for baseball. On Yahoo Sports you can endlessly study the stats like an obsessive sicko!

mark said...

gerry-- "the belmont club"?
they're talking about the "treason" of the Times there.

also: I agree, the timeline is confusing. But it is apparent that these reports are ante Bush fils.

nina said...

Ann, call the front desk. Most places only deliver the USA Today if you do not put in another request.

Fenrisulven said...

Go Roman. Grab the Wapo. Its much better journalism than NYTs and still leans Left.