February 25, 2008

Blogger(s) triumph.

JOSH MARSHALL WINS A POLK AWARD and gets a nice write-up in the NYT. (Am I supposed to punish the NYT for the dreadful McCain story? I've got to make an exception and link to this.) "[H]e operates a long way from the clichéd pajama-wearing, coffee-sipping commentator on the news." Dammit, where's my coffee? And enough with the pajamas cliché — which is a cliché even when you're calling it a cliché.

By the way, speaking of clichés: Have you noticed you never see MSM articles carping about bloggers anymore? Like this one from back in September 2006. Actually, I think that one was so dumb that no one ever wrote another one.

(Cross-posted on Instapundit.)


rhhardin said...

Polk? Governor of Tennessee? Twice speaker of the House of Representatives? Jackson leader in the fight against the U.S. Bank?

Known for his quips? (``Shunted from Pillow to Polk, eh?'' when his Presidential political appointee Gideon Pillow referred somebody to him. At least according to Thurber, who's trying to get him remembered somehow.)

Middle Class Guy said...

I like the head line- Rakes muck.

Coming from the NYT? They should be ashamed of themselves calling some one a muck raker, even in jest. The paper that prints all the muck that's fit to print.

Simon said...

He won the award and moreover got his press pass back. I think both are positive. I thought - still think - there was nothing to the US Attorneys "scandal," but Marshall was instrumental in weaponizing it and putting the story onto the MSM's radar, so he has to be considered terrifically successful if one looks at the achievement of goals rather than the content of those goals. And while I don't think all bloggers can qualify as journalists -- admittedly it's probably quite difficult to articulate a satisfying test -- I think he certainly qualifies.

Victor said...

Anyone have any idea what happened to "Pajamas Media". After their announcement I half expected to see citizen journos carrying video cameras at all ends of the earth, sending in exciting stories about the triumph of democracy. Instead there's just a collection of blogs?

Middle Class Guy said...

Simon said...
I thought - still think - there was nothing to the US Attorneys "scandal,"

There was nothing legally wrong with the firing of the US Attorneys. The way it was done may not have been what is considered appropriate by people who personally define what is appropriate. Also there was a slight political problem. US Attorneys are usually recommended by Senators. You know how those guys get their knickers in a fit when their people are picked on.

MadisonMan said...

Also there was a slight political problem.

There was also the legal problem of hiring people (or not) based on their politics.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

MCG, comity and deference might give the recommendation of a Senator something akin to a rebuttable presumption in the appointment process, but nothing more. I don't think that the "scandal" had much to do with Senators feeling their turf was being involved - it had to do with the opposition seizing an issue that they felt could be used as a weapon to pole-vault them into the majority. It was, as scandals go, a work of political art.

MM, to my recollection, the problem arose in that some interviewees were considered concurrently for political appointments (where political considerations are permisable) and career appointments (where political considerations are barred by 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(1)(E)), which makes it something far short of a clean-cut issue.

Too many jims said...


After being granted immunity, in response to a question whether she had broken the law Monica Goodling testified that “I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to.” These things are less than clear cut. Can we really expect a lawyer in the Attorney General's office responsible for hiring to know what the law is relating to hiring people? Look, when a President exercises authority which he clearly has, any attempt to question that decision is merely the opposition seizing an issue. Questioning the decision is not journalism it is partisan hackery.

MadisonMan said...

“I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to.”

Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: "I forgot!" How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don't say "I forgot"? Let's say you're on trial for armed robbery. You say to the judge, "I forgot armed robbery was illegal." Let's suppose he says back to you, "You have committed a foul crime. you have stolen hundreds and thousands of dollars from people at random, and you say, 'I forgot'?" Two simple words: Excuuuuuse me!!"

Steve Martin was funnier than Monica Goodling but the excuses are about the same.

MTfromCC said...

1. Josh Marshall and TPM are very deserving of the award, and enjoy the excellent reputation for hard reporting that they enjoy for a reason. Thanks for making note of it on your website

2. MCG and MM -- I am constantly amazed at the willingness of people on the right -- such as yourselves, apparently -- who talk about the "rule of law" as if it is the holiest and most important principle of legal thought, and the be-all and end-all of any free democracy or free society, and yet who are willing to look the other way and rationalize with statements like "nothing they did was illegal" or "they serve at his pleasure and he had the absolute right to fire any of them" when (1) the people who are being criticized are political operatives who were misusing their authority as officers of the American criminal justice system -- representatives of the State, not the GOP -- to pursue highly dubious politically motivated prosecutions against their political opponents during election season, who get caught red-handed doing it, and who fire those dedicated career prosecutors who refuse to go along with the misuse of prosecutorial power. This is a political question as well as a legal one. But the bottom line is that it was highly (HIGHLY) unusual for a President to terminate US Attorneys who he appointed at mid-term -- unprecedented actually -- and it is well documented that every attorney who was fired was one who refused to take marching orders from Karl Rove and his hit men in the White House, and use their powers as law enforcement officers for tactical purposes, for the political benefit of the GOP.

If a president fires someone who serves at his pleasure for reasons that are immoral and that reflect misuse of power, it is both immoral and, I would submit, a violation of the oath to uphold the constitution that each Federal employee takes. It was despicable, and part of the politicization of D0J and the Federal Government generally that has Obama on the verge of sweeping to a landslide victory, because average voters are sick to death of being lied to, and are exhausted by this corrosive form of politics. This is not about the "way it was done" -- it is about politicizing law enforcement, which is a threat to democracy, because the criminal justice system depends on public confidence that prosecutors are not being motivated by improper purposes.

It is exhausting to have to listen to the same weak excuses over and over for yet another abuse of power by the incumbent administration. If a Democrat was doing this, thet two of you would scream foul, and I seriously doubt it would be over "how they did it" -- it would be "that they did it" -- just as it is (and should be) here.

MadisonMan said...

MTFromCC: Apparently my disdain for the not-my-responsibility-to-know-the-law lawyers at Justice didn't shine through. Apologies for my unclear writing. I thought a Steve Martin quote would cinch the deal.

FTR, I think that people who say this is business as usual at Justice are willfully blind, and as you say, would not cotton to this behavior under President Hillary!. Sure, she can fire everyone at the beginning of her term -- that's to be expected and I think they all offer their resignations then anyway -- but to do it before a midterm election because USA Attys aren't convicting enough Democrats is foul.

Too many jims said...

Madison Man,

You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes. First, get a million dollars.

Though I would quibble just a touch with the Steve Martin refernce because I think Goodling's defense is more like saying either: (a)"I was completely incompetent at my job." or (b)"I was hopelessly corrupt."

MadisonMan said...

...or (c), both.

You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes. First, get a million dollars.

First, form a defense contracting firm. Promise to do work in Iraq. Collect money. Do no work. Repeat as needed.

I forgot!