Posts from July 2003


: Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian, gave a wise keynote at the media confab (below), which I won’t do the disservice of summarizing in a paragraph post.

He also acknowledged discussion about starting an American Guardian.

He said they were inspired by the two million Americans a month who read The Guardian online. He said it’s still just a dream and they’re not even sure whether it would be daily, weekly, or monthly.

The other war

The other war
: Forgot to mention earlier that Tom Rogers, former head of Primedia, told me that he was asked by Mayor Bloomberg to mediate the fight between the Yankees’ YES network and Cablevision. Now that’s a war.

(I side with Cablevision on this one. They don’t want to give it to everybody and charge everybody. I don’t watch baseball and so I don’t want to pay a penny for the channel.)

Alterman agonistes

Alterman agonistes
: So I ran into Eric Alterman at the New York Mag/Guardian media/war confab (overblogged, below).

I thought it was a friendly how-do-you-do during the coffee break: Good to see you, Eric.

Eric thought otherwise and took out after me. He said he almost responded to my “attack” on him (here and here) regarding his stance on attacks on Jews in France.

To recap: He said that the attacks were coming from Muslim immigrants angered by the occupation of Palestine. I said that by seeing a motive other than hate he is ascribing a justification to anti-Semitism and that is a moral mistake.

We went back and forth for a few minutes. He said he was trying to learn and understand the reasons behind these acts. I said he was giving a hate crime credit for rationality it does not deserve. He made some metaphor about learning the behavior of mosquitoes so he can avoid them. I tried to make a joke that he just saw me as a pest now. He was not to be amused, not to be trifled with.

A TV crew was getting ready to interview him and had its camera turned pointed in our direction. Alterman pushed the microphone away and snapped, “I’m not talking to you.”

He turned to me and said, “Your attack is unfair.” Then je walked away.

I want to emphasize that we had a perfectly friendly conversation later. That’s not my point.

What’s interesting here is what happens when bloggers meet after having a disagreement onine. So we had a public disagreement. Happens. But that apparently festered in private. Well, I say the better thing to do is to continue the discussion in public until you work it out (unlikely) or tire out. I wish Eric had responded, in public and in kind; that’s oddly easier to deal with than a private spat.

You talk to my blog, you talk to me. Talk to me, talk to my blog.

Media last

Media last
: Just a few last notes from the media confab.

: Adrian Van Klaveren, head of newsgathering for the BBC, says regarding the Kelly affair, “The BBC is confident that our position will be vindicated.” Surprise, surprise. He has the sputtering demeanor of an embattled Washington aide.

: There a dust-up over a BBC film about the rescue of Jessica Lynch. The BBC reporter, John Kampfner, says he stands by the report. Members of the audience take him to task.

: The BBC is acting like the cocky powerful clique in its last days in power but unaware that the click is ticking.

: Sidney Blumenthal insists that many members of the Bush White House, partidularly Chaney, are secretly rooting for Tony Blair to be kicked out.

: Eric Alterman asks an irksome question at the end: “We can all agree that truth is very important. But the American people don’t care about truth. They care more about results.” A lady in the audience gashs about shouts: “Not true.” Amen, lady. If your own audience doesn’t care about the truth, why write for them, Eric. That’s essentially insulting to the entire damned nation. And it’s wrong.

Media more

Media more
: More bits from the media and war confab:

: Discussion of embed fashion: The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt said that apart from wearing the chemical suit, when ordered, he made sure to wear civvies.

“The truth is, some of the embeds really enjoyed the dressing up,” said ABC’s John Donovan.

Blogger Eric Alterman calls out from the audience: “So did the president.”

: Michael Wolff tries, as usual, to see the sinister intent of the military in providing khakis.

ABC’s LeRoy Sievers: “John was a White House correspondent. He dressed like the president: Dark suit, white shirt. Nobody said, ‘John is trying to act like the President.'”

: Jonathan Foreman of the NY Post says the Iraqis did not need embedded reporters because the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan (who said the Americans were not in Baghad when they were) “was doing the job for them.”

: Wolff tries to say that embedded reporters weren’t experienced at war. The reporters jumped down his throat. LeRoy Sievers of ABC said the reporters had more experience in war than the soldiers.

: Foreman complains that reporters were getting excited and calling one shot a “heavy bombardment.” Sievers says “that happens every day on many stoies.”

: Rick Leventhal of FoxNews: “I would never go unilateral (that is, not embedded) in a war. You guys are nuts.”