Posts from October 2003

Let’s all make campaign commercials

Let’s all make campaign commercials
: Ed Cone finds the latest from MoveOn: a call to make a 30-second commercial that “tells the truth about George Bush,” the winner to be judged by Michael Moore, Donna Brazile, Jack Black, Janeane Garofalo, and Gus Van Sant and aired on TV during the week of the State of the Union address.

I think it’s time to brush up on my vlogging.

Somehow, I don’t think I’ll win.

But why don’t we all sit down in front of the camera and make the commercials that should win.

Celebrity junkies

Celebrity junkies
: Courtney Love has been busted on drugs:

Prosecutors Tuesday charged singer-actress Courtney Love with two felony counts of drug possession…. She stands accused of possessing painkillers — Hydrocodone and Oxycodone — without a prescription.

She faces more than three years in jail.

And so what does Rush Limbaugh face for acquiring thousands of the same pills?

Howard Stern said this morning that Jeb Bush can’t exactly be out there saying he’s tough on drugs but light on Rush.

: Steven Johnson on the coincidence.

Who’s a reporter?

Who’s a reporter?
: In a wonderfully candid post about himself and his weblog today, Zeyad, the new Iraqi blogger, says:

…I must reiterate that I am not a journalist. I’m merely trying to give you an idea on how the average Iraqi think about such events, or what kind of stories are circulated on the streets.

I must disagree. Zeyad is a journalist in a new (or very old) definition of the word. He is a reporter and is proving to be a damned good one.

Zeyad is reporting what he sees and feels and hears — and thinks. He is the witness who tells the world what is happening around him. Just like the consummate pro Tish Durkin (see the next post below), he is doing a great job of trying to put us there in Baghdad, so we have a better idea of what is happening. That is a reporter’s job.

: A few days ago, Zeyad had a post about a story circulating in the city, of a woman who supposedly brought a baby to a hospital wrapped in explosives. Says the tale: “After questioning the woman she confessed that the baby was kidnapped and that some Arabs had offered her a considerable amount of money to get the baby inside the crowded emergency hall in the hospital, leave it there and they would do the rest.”

Having seen this nowhere else, I wrote it off at the time as urban legend. I figure there must be enough urban legend going around in Baghdad to choke Snopes.

What’s interesting is that today, Zeyad addresses the issue of whether this story is credible or whether it is urban legend. He doesn’t know.

Iraqis have been talking about it since Friday. Nobody has either denied or confirmed it officially. I also read about it in Azzaman, an independent Iraqi newspaper published in Iraq and the UK and edited by Sa’ad Al-Bazzaz a highly respected Iraqi journalist. Saddam’s Mukhabarat agents tried to assasinate him more than once in both Jordan and the UK. They never print urban legends or rumours. It is currently the number one newspaper in postwar Iraq. I highly doubt they would publish such a story without sufficient evidence. I tried hard searching for other sources but without any luck.

I didn’t make up the story. And I would never put propaganda on this blog. You can check it out for yourself on their October 25 edition (if you can read Arabic).

So Zeyad is learning to do what a reporter or an editor should do: check his stories. He is a journalist.

: There are more interesting notes in the post about the Riverbend blog and the blog that now mocks it.

Also, note that Zeyad has put up a biography of himself, with a picture.

It seems to me that he is being as open as he can.

There’ve been a few trollish posts on my blog about whether he’s legit (a kneejerk response after those questioning Salam Pax — all of whom were wrong). Well, I haven’t met him and so I can’t give you his DNA. But I haven’t met Atrios or Andrew Sullivan, either, and I think they and their opionions are legit and worthwhile. You know Zeyad as well as I know Zeyad. I say we’re lucky he’s there.

: I’ve been engaging in a lot of excited blather lately about citizens’ media and citizen journalists. This is why. Yes, it’s exciting for me to see new layers and levels of information and perspective that can emerge now that the people formerly known as the audience have history’s easiest publishing tool connected to history’s best distribution network. It’s exciting to see that in a town in America. But it’s particularly exciting in a town in Iraq, where we can certainly use new levels of information and persective, especially from the people most affected. All the people who give us that information are reporting so we can decide what we think the real story is.

: Yes, Zeyad is a journalist. He’s turning out to be such a good one that I just sent him email asking whether he really wanted to be dentist afterall.

It’s about the people, stupid

It’s about the people, stupid
: In all the rhetorical, ideological, and political catfights occurring over Iraq and the U.S., what is most disturbing is that the fate of the Iraqi people is too often forgotten (especially, I’d say, by those who supposedly had their interests at heart — and you know who you are).

How ludicrous to be running anti-war rallies after the war is over. Day late, placard short.

What we should be doing now is falling over ourselves to be the ones who helped build the first successful democracy and well-rounded economy in the Middle East. Instead, everybody’s yelling so loud about their divorce they’re forgetting to feed the kids.

Tish Durkin finally captures this in the New York Observer:

Most of the people outside Iraq seem to be obsessed with giving the Bush administration what they think it deserves. Most of the people inside Iraq

Revolt against the editors

Revolt against the editors
: There happens to be a lot of sniping at editors going around.

Here’s Mickey Kaus firing one shot.

Here’s Virginia Postrel taking aim with Norm Geras and others firing.

Stephen Green adds his gunpowder.

Not a growth industry, that.