By Big Tent Democrat

Chris Bowers could not be more wrong on this:

Here is what the journalist who recorded the quote, Gerri Peev, which the editor of The Scotsman then published, said in justification [. . .]:

Because I don't know what the convention is in American journalism, but in Britain here we have very firm rules about the fact that generally you establish whether a conversation or interview is on or off the record before it actually happens. [. . .]

The justification for publishing the quote is entirely based on "conventions," "rules," "business," and other institutional norms. There seems to be no appreciation that Peev and her editor were personally responsible for ending someone's political advisor career over something really, really stupid. This strikes me as very much hiding behind vague institutional rules and regulations in an effort to elide personal responsibility.

This is is nonsense. There is nothing about the institution that is behind the UNIVERSAL rule that everything is on the record with a JOURNALIST absent a prior agreement otherwise. If Chris does not know this most basic rule of journalism, if Samantha Power does not know it, then they have no business, in Power's case, representing a political campaign, and in Chris' case, critiquing a journalist. This critique from Chris is simply an absurdity.

Chris may make other points worth pondering, I do not know. But his opening is so far off the mark, I did not take them in.

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    Agree (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by dissenter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:14:20 PM EST
    100%. Any fool who has acted in the capacity of a spokesperson knows that fact. Chris is wrong on this one. Way wrong.

    But this I really don't get (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by dissenter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:17:06 PM EST
    I mean I learned that in Professor Pickett's Journalism 101 class at the University of Kansas back in the early 80's. If the comment had been made by a Clinton person I would say the same thing.

    Everyone on the reporting and public relations side knows this rule.

    There is no obligation (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:18:05 PM EST
    To print everything that is said on the record.

    Of course not (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:18:47 PM EST
    It was printed because it was newsworthy. It clearly WAS newsworthy.

    It was marginally newsworthy (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:22:44 PM EST
    But that was well outweighed by the harm it did to Power's career.  Isn't there a journalists' equivalent of FRE 403 -- balancing the harm against the newsworthiness?

    Ruining careeers as I factor (5.00 / 9) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:27:17 PM EST
    for determining whether to publish?

    Do you really want that? Scooter Libby agrees with you.

    Honestly, that is the silliest thing I have ever heard.


    Not just Scooter Libby (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:30:46 PM EST
    Tim Russert would probably agree, too.  We all know his exacting standards for taking things "off the record."

    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by dissenter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:31:04 PM EST
    Samantha Powers should have taken a look at the British newspapers before she spoke those words. Additionally, she might have considered this...the Clintons are well like in the UK and Ireland. Very well liked.

    This seems to me to be about her judgment not the press' decision to print her statements.


    Ruining careers for no good reason (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:31:34 PM EST
    should be a factor.  It used to be.  I guess I'm old-fashioned.

    Don't get me wrong, Samantha Power has no right to complain.  But if I were the reporter, I wouldn't be feeling particularly good about myself.  Guess that's why I'm not a reporter.


    Sorry, you're dead wrong (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by geordie on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:58:46 PM EST
    Anyone who's ever worked on the Hill or for a politician directly learns the first day on the job that you ALWAYS set the ground rules with a reporter first - if you want it off the record, or without attribution ("sources say"), you've GOT to get that straight first.  For one thing, it clearly affects the kind of questions the reporter might ask you, so the reporter needs to know what he/she can do with what you're saying.  I learned this the hard way as a young Hill staffer, when a disparaging remark I made about a Reagan administration official found its way into a front page story in a major US newspaper.  Fortunately for me, I was not fired, but I could well have been, and I learned my lesson immediately and forever.

    This is one of my problems with Obama - he has smart amateurs like Power and Goolsbee flapping their jaws and then he and his campaign bear the consequences.  He needs to muzzle everyone in his campaign who doesn't have experience dealing with press.


    The journaiist does notl (none / 0) (#53)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:01:31 PM EST
    decide whose careeer is ruined foer "no good reason."

    I really have no way of discussing this with you as I can not even understand where you are coming from.


    A good reason (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:05:59 PM EST
    would be if the person whose career was ruined was, say, working for Clinton, or was a Republican. A bad reason would be if, say, the person worked for Obama.

    I see where he's coming from. I think you do too ;-).


    A journalist can if he wants (none / 0) (#63)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:11:27 PM EST
    And I think it is the better choice to make in a situation like this where the "news" is basically vacuous.  

    I am not disagreeing with you that it is within the rules.  You seem to think that is the beginning and the end of the discussion.  I don't look at it that way.


    It's not clear to me her career was ruined... (none / 0) (#62)
    by jerry on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:11:21 PM EST
    Obama has to be elected, and then when he does, I see no reason he cannot hire her for virtually any position he wants.

    At any confirmation hearing she has to make a very sincere apology and I see no reason why she cannot.

    "I said something dumb in the middle of my first political campaign.  I regretted it immediately and tried to withdraw it, and I have regretted it since."

    If Obama doesn't hire her because he feels she is a loose cannon that may be a valid criticism.


    She's tenure. Her career is not ruined. (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:21:46 PM EST
    She can go back and teach, doing what she is paid to do.

    What a concept.


    According to Huff Post, Obama (none / 0) (#113)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 08:21:26 PM EST
    remains in frequent contact w/Ms. Powers.  

    So wait a second I sit with a Reporter (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:28:31 PM EST
    for an on the record interview and after I say something I say that part of what I said was off the record and that reporter is suppose to accept that?

    Don't work that way.

    and as far as

    But that was well outweighed by the harm it did to Power's career
    since when have reporters here or abroad ever done that.  Or for that fact why should it be his/her concern?

    I know beans about journalism.... (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by jerry on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:15:33 PM EST
    I think if she had said something like,

    "Wow, that was really stupid what I just said.  I don't mean that in any way, and I certainly do not think of Senator Clinton has anything other than a hardballing politician."

    instead of saying

    "That's off the record by the way"

    The first statement acknowledges a mistake, and if I were a journalist I could acknowledge that and ignore it and move along with the correction.  The second statement says, "that feeling is accurate, she is a monster who stoops to anything, it's how I feel, but you can't tell anyone I feel that way."


    Hmmm (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by lisadawn82 on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:40:31 PM EST
    Isn't Samantha Powers also responsible for her career?  She's a grown woman who is a journalist herself.  She made a terrible remark under tremendous pressure but you don't see her complaining about the unfairness of it all.  She made a mistake but took the resulting fallout like the grownup that she is.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#33)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:42:02 PM EST
    She can't complain.  But it is a shame.  I would feel the same way if the shoe were on the other foot.

    Yes it is (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:45:34 PM EST
    a shame that she put her foot in her mouth and said what she said. But blame it on Powers, not on the messenger.

    "Tremendous pressure"? A book tour (none / 0) (#75)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:24:35 PM EST
    is tiring, but calling it "tremendous pressure"?  C'mon.  The only real pressure is what the author exerts on the pen, signing books, if it starts to run out of ink.

    I like Obama and Powers (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:09:44 PM EST
    But it's not in a journalist's job description to protect the careers of those she covers.

    Take it up with (none / 0) (#11)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:26:56 PM EST
    the Torrance Observer.

    I would feel the same way about Ferraro (none / 0) (#25)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:37:06 PM EST
    Had she immediately tried to go off the record and then apologized.  Instead she defeneded her remark repeatedly on national television.

    Power's career (none / 0) (#103)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:28:36 PM EST
    Let's be real clear about this.  There's absolutely zero harm to Power's career.  She's an academic, not a political operative.  She was not a paid adviser to Obama.

    She has also beend around the block a lot in recent years giving interviews and promoting her book and her laudable crusade on Rwanda.  She's no naif trapped by a slithery journalist.  I'm sure she did not mean to publicly call HRC a "monster," but she let her mouth get ahead of her sense.  Tough.  Happens to a lot of folks.  I have no sympathy.  She's way too much of a hot-head to be speaking for anybody's campaign, and although I respect her work, I wouldn't want her in any positino of authority in the U.S. government.


    If Obama Becomes President, There Is A Chance (none / 0) (#108)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:42:28 PM EST
    that she would have some place in his administration. Isn't it better that she learns this lesson now rather than have her say something inappropriate about some foreign leader and then try in hindsight to get it off the record.

    There is no obligation to print everything (none / 0) (#12)
    by digdugboy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:27:00 PM EST
    that is newsworthy, either.

    Something that is newsworthy primarily because it is sensational could, without breaching any journalistic ethic, be properly ignored. Did Reev violate any journalistic ethic? No. Are off the record discussions necessary? Yes. Bowers is off the mark because he is conflating issues of discretion with a condemnation of journalism rules. But would any harm have come from withholding Powers' statement from publication? No.


    Nonsense (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:28:31 PM EST
    Obama top advisor calls Clinton monster is so clearly newsworthy that it boggles the mind that you folks are arguing otherwise.

    I retire from the discussion if this is the level of coherence I can expect.

    Chris Bowers may enjoy  your thinking on this.  I find it absurd.


    Obama advisor has low opinion of Clinton (none / 0) (#24)
    by digdugboy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:35:35 PM EST
    Stop the presses!

    C'mon, BTD. It's not particularly newsworthy that a member of either campaign has a low opinion of the opposing candidate. It's newsworthy that Power inadvisedly used the word "monster" to express her opinion. But it's "gotcha" journalism, unless you conclude that she actually believes Clinton is a bone fide monster who was raised by trolls under a bridge.


    Gotcha journalism is when you set up the (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:38:28 PM EST
    interviewee in this case she spontaneously made those expressions she was not asked the same question 8 times nor was she led to them.

    The fact (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Marvin42 on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:46:35 PM EST
    That she said it reveals a lot about the internals of the campaign, maybe stress, maybe their views.

    And why is it not newsworthy exactly? I mean if journalists think that the amount a campaign spends on donuts is newsworthy this definitely passes the donut test.


    I concede it's newsworty (none / 0) (#46)
    by digdugboy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:51:29 PM EST
    But no harm would have befallen the empire had she chosen not to publish it. It's newsworthiness is marginal, and derives only from the particular descriptor she chose to define Senator Clinton.

    I guess you didn't think (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:57:31 PM EST
    Macaca was very newsworthy either, given that it's newsworthiness was based solely on the particular descriptor that was used. guffawwww!

    Is there a racist connotation (none / 0) (#54)
    by digdugboy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:02:47 PM EST
    to "monster" like there is to "macaca?" Maybe you should try another analogy.

    Oh I see (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:08:05 PM EST
    the 'descriptor' must have a racist connotation to be newsworthy.

    Gosh I wish I'd gone to journalism school where I could have learned that. But thanks for teaching me.


    It was your analogy (none / 0) (#95)
    by digdugboy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:59:57 PM EST
    It's not my problem it sucked.

    Please (none / 0) (#96)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:04:06 PM EST
    pass the kool-aid.

    You have bad manners (none / 0) (#98)
    by digdugboy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:07:41 PM EST
    You could learn something from BTD. Despite his past excesses on other blogs, he manages to maintain a pretty high standard of behavior here. I think it's a great thing and I'm happy to see it. It's just a suggestion, but if you find your finger poised over the send key after you've just typed "pass the koolaid" you might want to think twice before you actually press it.

    Your manners (none / 0) (#101)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:16:49 PM EST
    are atrocious. Knock it off, and I'll do the same.

    Macaca, of course (none / 0) (#86)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:38:02 PM EST
    was not a MSM story, but a homemade video that was first publicized in the blogosphere.

    If it were up to the MSM, would they have made it a story?  I dunno.  Supposedly they covered up for all of McCain's "gook" jokes during Campaign 2000.


    But the liberal blogs (none / 0) (#88)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:40:21 PM EST
    ate it up. That's how I first hear about it, not by just searching youtube.

    So I think the situations are equivalent as far as the blogosphere is concerned.


    I don't think it is that revealing (none / 0) (#65)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:12:58 PM EST
    It reveals that Power was speaking before thinking.  Not every statement has deeper meaning.

    A senior advisor to a presidential wannabe (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:27:07 PM EST
    speaks before she thinks.  I want to know that.  It goes to a candidate's, well, judgment as to who he might take to the White House, too.

    She Was His Advisor On Foreign Affairs (none / 0) (#109)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:48:23 PM EST
    If she became part of his administration, just think of the damage she could do with off the cuff remarks like this about some foreign leader. Good thing she is learning this lesson now rather than latter even if she is learning it the hard way.

    Good thing WE learned it now (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:30:32 PM EST
    and that's why, re this thread, it's a good thing that the British still practice real journalism, unlike too many U.S. media.

    Baloney :-) (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Manuel on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:05:34 PM EST
    Powers is close to Obama.  It wasn't just words.  The wording she used and the feelings she expressed points to real animus between the campaigns.  It is in the public interest for these feelings to be brought into the open.  It gives context to other events.

    There is no expectation (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by dissenter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:22:55 PM EST
    by 99.9% of interviewees that you can say "off the record" in the middle of an interview and expect it to be kept out. After all, journalists are in the business of reporting news....and that did make news.

    I can see how some on this side of the Atlantic could be confused. The British media isn't the lap dog to politicians that it is in the United States. However, since Ms. Powers is supposedly a trusted and knowledgeable senior foreign affairs adviser one one think she would have some understanding of the foreign press.


    It's bad enough that the US press (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by litigatormom on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:10:58 PM EST
    has been protecting our leaders from their own stupidity for years.  Why should the UK press have to protect our leaders from their own stupidity too?

    Why does Obama (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Kathy on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:20:59 PM EST
    keep getting do-overs?  I just don't understand.  And I also wonder if Peev were a man, would they be out there barking about her so-called lack of journalism integrity?

    Because, let's be honest, you should never trust a reporter with anything, especially one you've just met for drinks and a chat.

    Amateurs.  When the media bubble pops, Obama will be left spinning.  Please, please, God, let Clinton cinch this so we can have adults in charge.  People are being tortured.  Our soldiers are dying for no reason.  Our economy is in the toilet.  We need a leader, not another whiner.

    This is not a good (none / 0) (#10)
    by AF on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:23:40 PM EST
    example of Obama getting a do-over. Power was fired.

    Well someone is trying to give them (none / 0) (#21)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:31:08 PM EST
    a do over in the press on how mean the foreign press is to his campaign for printing what she said.  :)

    yes. definitely skip the drinks. (none / 0) (#28)
    by derridog on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:40:11 PM EST
    What do-over is he getting? (none / 0) (#66)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:14:29 PM EST
    Has Power been re-hired?

    Amateurish (none / 0) (#69)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:16:04 PM EST
    Is assuming you'll win on Super Tuesday and having no backup plan.  This relentless spinning is ridiculous.

    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:29:56 PM EST
    I remember seeing Norah O'Donnell interview the Scottish journalist.  Noron seemed aghast that they would have printed the statement.  The Scottish journalist replied that if the American media isn't giving people an idea of how the campaigns privately feel about one another, they're not exactly doing their jobs.  She said it a little nicer than that, I think.

    This idea that a journalist should refrain from printing a controversial statement if it might injure the speaker's career would certainly make for an interesting rule.  I had been under the impression that rule applied only to John McCain.

    the first, second and third rule, when (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by cpinva on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:16:47 PM EST
    dealing with the press: assume everything you say and/or do will be reported, period. anyone who actually doesn't understand this has no business speaking to the press, period.

    the fourth rule: see rules one through three.

    ms. powers, much like condoleeza rice, doesn't impress me. one of two realities occurred:

    1. she actually didn't know about press rules one through four.

    2. she did know, but figured since that's the general tone of the obama campaign insiders, it would be ok.

    either way, she's an idiot, book learning to the contrary. send an idiot to harvard, you get an idiot with a harvard degree back.

    Perhaps Ms. Powers thought (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by litigatormom on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:24:11 PM EST
    that she was protected by the "McCain Rules," under which a profane, cranky, hot-headed, hypocritical candidate schmoozes with reporters, after which they extoll his virtues as a straight talker without printing anything he actually said.

    She should have known that in order to have the McCain Rules apply, she needed to: (1) invite reporters to your Arizona estate for barbecue and booze; and (2) become a Republican.


    What She Failed To Understand The Most (none / 0) (#111)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:59:23 PM EST
    was that she was not talking to an American journalist. Foreign journalist tend to much harder hitting (sigh). Pretty sure they wouldn't honor the McCain rules.

    Considering Powers' Role (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:31:19 PM EST
    As a foreign policy advisor or any kind of role that involves diplomacy, the first rule is simple: MANNERS.  It's not becoming to call her monster and then channel some 14 year old from San Fernando Valley:

    "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh'.

    Memo to candidates:  Get real diplomats to teach your people some grace and manners.  

    Just look at her-ergh (5.00 / 5) (#93)
    by Foxx on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:55:35 PM EST
    Power didn't just utter the word monster. She spoke several deplorable paragraphs, including a shocking misogynist comment "Just look at her-ergh."

    The entire press is minimizing what she said by reducing it to "monster." It was much more than that. And they are minimizing her intent by calling it things like a stupid mistake or blunder. A silly unreal moment.

    I don't for one second believe Power that this is not what she really thinks about Clinton. The whole was a statement of profound disrespect and disdain, and gave us a scary window on how the Obama campaign talks about Hillary to themselves.

    Completely newsworthy.

    It breaks my heart to see this kind of woman-hating in women.

    That was my thought too (none / 0) (#106)
    by ding7777 on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:35:04 PM EST
    Samatha had probably said much more but this was the least offensive remark which got published

    A journalist who did not (none / 0) (#116)
    by kmblue on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:10:23 PM EST
    report that remark would have gotten fired,
    and rightly so.

    Because that journalist would be incapable of recognizing a newsworthy quote when she heard it.


    A quote from Chris Bowers - take a deep breath (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 11:12:59 PM EST
    This is an actual quote from Chris Bowers.
    He is responding to another of Obama's rightward shifts - says he knows that Obama is no progressive - and then says he'll work hard to elect him president.

    What are we to do with people like this?

    The quote:

    "Obama is more about placating High Broderism, Tim Russert and the Washington Post editorial board than he is about transformative progressive change. I'll work hard to help elect him, but I also don't intend to delude myself about what to expect when he becomes President."

    This is an incredible statement.

    So as long as he doesn't delude himself about how nowhere Obama is, he feels just great about working hard to elect him.

    Thanks a lot.

    Wow! (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 11:26:55 PM EST
    Quite a statement.

    He just conceded that Obama will be more right wing than most of his supporters think.


    Peev didn't force her to say it (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 11:24:13 PM EST
    But in this country we've become so used to "press release journalism" that many are probably just surprised when they see the real thing.

    Ain't That The Truth n/t (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 12:01:01 AM EST
    Well (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by Fredster on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:21:06 AM EST
    Peev and her editor were personally responsible for ending someone's political advisor career over something really, really stupid.

    I'd say the person responsible was ole Suzie herself.  Couldn't she keep her mouth shut?

    More news please (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by glennmcgahee on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 07:39:26 AM EST
    I wish we had journalists in the states here with more balls willing to print the actual truth. However, we are  all learning how this works. We saw John McCain giving the bar-b-que for journalists and they were all having a marvelous time. Then we saw George Bush at the gridiron dinner for journalists recently practically laughing a the foibles of "Brownie" and Scooter Libby as if they weren't a serious problem. All along, we see the journalists laughing and playing because they are the insiders who get to travel and play. They are still getting their paychecks while many Americans are out of work, hungry and can't pay the bills. haha

    A bad story about someone who (none / 0) (#2)
    by RalphB on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:14:47 PM EST
    works for Obama is, of course, terrible.  However, if it had been about that "monster" Hillary ...

    It seems just about everyone is in the tank.

    Samantha Power (none / 0) (#6)
    by cmugirl on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:19:42 PM EST
    Knew what she was doing.  I don't believe this was off the cuff.  I don't think she expected to get fired - I think she expected to be able to say she was off the record.

    The media is out there (none / 0) (#19)
    by PlayInPeoria on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:30:51 PM EST
    picking up anything they can find to start these types of battles. No doubt people should think before they speak.

    This is NOT good for the DEM Party. But... it is good for the media... they get ratings while people watch pundents argue, yell and tell each other to shut up. People watch the junk. Mean while the Repubs look like the grownups... Let's not lose the GE!!!!

    Of course (none / 0) (#23)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:34:36 PM EST
    Peev was within the "rules."  And it was so very, very newsworthy that an Obama supporter is frustrated with her candidate's opponet after several months of hard campaigning.  And most importantly the Scotsman got its mostest internet hits EVAH!!!

    Meanwhile due to a single ill-tempered word a bright progressive woman with informed and articulate opinions on foreign policy is now politically radioactive, hopefully temporarily though it will likely take some combination of time in exile and humbling reassurances to gain a candidate's confidence again.

    And Hillary's supporters applaud or defend the reporter's decision to print, since after all it put her opponent into a somewhat tight spot for a couple of hours.  bravo.

    And what if she had said it (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:40:53 PM EST
    on live TV or radio? You'd still find a way to blame it on everyone but Powers herself.

    We all make mistakes. And sometimes we have to pay for those mistakes. It's not like her career has been destroyed, she just lost her job with the campaign. She's still an academic afaik. And if Obama gets elected, she'll be back, I'm sure of it.

    So spare us the pity party.


    Probably won't (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by oldpro on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:40:34 PM EST
    be in the State Department, however.

    This is an opportunity for growth and change in Powers' life, personally and professionally.  How she adapts (or doesn't) will be the interesting thing to those who know her, work with her.

    In addition, she'd best be careful what she says in the classroom.  Those kids have ambition, opportunity and tools...cellphones/cameras/recorders and a marketplace to sell information that is current.

    How the world has changed.  Andy Warhol was right about the 15 minutes of fame.


    Yes. And due to a single (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by derridog on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:46:16 PM EST
    "ill tempered word" ("Macaca"), George Allen lost his Senate seat in Virginia. Would you prefer the press muzzle itself so that such revealing Freudian slips never get heard by the public?

    This is the true value of having a free press.  It's the duty of the person being interviewed or observed to control his or her own words, not that of the journalist to cover for them, if they make some outrageous statement.


    The definitive answer n/t (none / 0) (#42)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:48:53 PM EST
    You would equate (none / 0) (#49)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:57:28 PM EST
    the racist, demeaning "macaca" (literally: a noisy little brown monkey) with the generic "monster?"  At least "monster" respects Clinton's power.

    Really, the fault here is with the Obama campaign for accepting Power's resignation.  Unless she wasn't pushed out but actually wanted to go herself.  If you watch the video where she apologzes abjectly and repeatedly, she looks really tired.

    What Obama should have done is announce that the campaign was suspending its association with Power until after the nomination was decided.  I understand they want to keep the image of their inner campaign circle squeaky-clean, but this is someone who could be very valuable in the GE and in service to America.


    "Generic" monster? (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by litigatormom on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:18:52 PM EST
    You think calling a woman a monster acknowledges her power?

    If Samantha Powers doesn't know enough not to call her boss's adversary a "monster" without making sure she was off the record before she said it, I'm not too excited about her being part of President Obama's foreign policy team.


    OK, I'm sorry, (none / 0) (#79)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:30:50 PM EST
    I only meant that it wasn't belittling in the way that "little monkey" is, not that it was in any way compimentary.  It was certainly something Power should not have said, something that demanded an apology and repudiation by the obama campaign.

    Um (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:59:30 PM EST
    the generic monster?

    Let me be clear for you in case we run into trouble later - monster is not considered "generic" at this site.

    Do not  use it here if you want to avoid suspension from commenting.


    I've read TL (none / 0) (#67)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:15:01 PM EST
    for years, though not consistently, and i guessed I missed earlier discussion of the term. I didn't mean any offense by it, and I guess now I'll have to look up why some find it so far out of bounds.

    Yes, look up "monster" in the dictionary (none / 0) (#117)
    by shoephone on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:15:09 PM EST
    Maybe it will become clearer.

    So it would have been worse if she called (none / 0) (#57)
    by derridog on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:07:05 PM EST
    Hillary "the Loch Ness Monster," or "the Monster from the Black Lagoon?"

    No wonder she looks tired, she was probably searching her brain for the generic equivalent.


    You forgot "the cookie monster"! (none / 0) (#118)
    by shoephone on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:16:52 PM EST
    Or in Clinton's case, the not-baking cookies monster.



    Um (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:50:31 PM EST
    Of course I defend it.

    What standard am I supposed to support?  "Don't print anything that would embarrass our own side"?

    People deserve the truth.  If the truth is that the two campaigns have deep contempt for one another, that's newsworthy.


    Does anybody have a Kleenex? (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by Camorrista on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:18:38 PM EST
    So by the standards of an Obama admirer, a reporter who was properly doing her job should give a pass to a professional writer when that writer insults a competing presidential contender in the heat of a primary battle.

    Because the person quoted is a "bright, progessive woman with informed and articulate (?!) opinions," the reporter should simply ignore the newsworthiness of the remark.  After all, the bright, progressive woman with those articulate opinions was tired.  And on top of that, printing the remark made the poor bright, progressive woman "politically radiactive."

    Powers screwed up; the Obama campaign decided that (for the moment) she was more a liability than an asset.  Harvard did not fire her; her publisher did not drop her; her books were not pulled from stores; the Pulitzer Committee did not retrieve her prize.  And if Obama is the nominee, she will be back on board.  Guaranteed.

    Also guaranteed is that if the situation were reversed--if a reporter printed a Clinton advisor's stupid remark--Obama's admirers would not only defend the reporter, they would cheer the firing of the advisor.  (And gloat about it, as they've done in the past.)

    It's not a birthday party, it's a contest for the presidency.  It's politics, at the highest level.  There are no special rules for Obama because he's fresh, and handsome, and charismatic, and eloquent, and filled with hope. And he knows that; he knows he's playing in the big leagues, and he knows that in the big leagues the players wear spikes not ballet shoes.

    When will he tell his supporters that?  Or will we have to listen to them bleat all the way to the convention?


    Camorrista (none / 0) (#110)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:49:47 PM EST
    > So by the standards of an Obama admirer

    Doesn't describe me, I only back him over HRC because i think he's a batter chance against St. McCain.  I'll be all for Hillary if she somehow comes back and wins the nomination.

    > Because the person quoted is a "bright, progessive woman with informed and articulate (?!) opinions," the reporter should simply ignore the newsworthiness of the remark

    She was under no obligation to overlook said remark, but it is unfortunate she chose to broadcast it.

    > And if Obama is the nominee, she will be back on board.  Guaranteed.

    I hope so!

    Really, my axe is ground here not so much for Obama but against the increasing bitterness of this primary battle.  Wounds are being inflicted now that will make this party weaker in the Fall, and beyond.


    Let's agree to disagree... (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Camorrista on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 08:13:18 PM EST
    ...but it is unfortunate she chose to broadcast it.

    I disagree.  If an experienced writer like Powers--a reporter herself--was too tired, or too testy to risk an interview, she should have re-scheduled it or canceled it.  There's no indication of trickiness on Peev's part, and Powers knows as well as anybody that you don't do a take-back in the middle of an on-the-record interview--or if you do, you grovel:  "Listen, I'm exhausted and that came out wrong, can we pretend I didn't say it, or at least paraphrase it and mush it up some, etc."   Powers chose to gamble on playing tough--she's well-known for that--and the gamble failed.

    A reporter's obligation is to her readers (and, their conduit, her editor).  She has no obligation to her subject, except to quote her accurately.  You seem to believe that Power's crack was no big deal.  Sorry, I believe it is a big deal when a senior advisor to a presidential contender calls his competitor a monster.  And, obbviously, Peev and her editor believe that too.

    Wounds are being inflicted now that will make this party weaker in the Fall, and beyond.

    My first vote was for Kennedy in 1960, and to quote Dustin Hoffman in "Wag the Dog," all I can say is "You think this is something?  This is nothing."


    this comment (none / 0) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:52:03 PM EST
    is illogical and weird.

    What's weird (none / 0) (#77)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:26:15 PM EST
    about regretting damage done to the reputation and influence of an important progrssive voice, ie: one of the home team?

    Because you were clearly (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:36:38 PM EST
    regretting that the media ever reported on it, not merely that the comment was made. That is very, very obvious from your comment.

    You're right! (none / 0) (#100)
    by mattt on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:08:54 PM EST
    I wish Power hadn't said it, but once she had I wish a reporter hadn't chosen to publish this out-of-chracter burst of spleen, which in my judgment had minimal news value but embarrassed and undermined the political career of an up-and-coming woman who has much to offer the progressive movement and the nation, in return for one sensational headline.  I agree with Bowers that while the reporter acted within the rules, her actions merit a big black mark in the Book of Karmic Accounts.

    I don't think sympathy's weird....though lately it seems be growing rare for fellow travellers who happen to line up behind the wrong candidate.


    How does the public know (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:31:56 PM EST
    it's an out-of-character burst of spleen if the media isn't supposed to report on bursts of spleen, in your humble opinion?

    Aren't you tired of a world in which journalists think it's ok to help out one political faction over another? Have you been asleep for the past 8 years?

    I'm a liberal and I want to see liberalism succeed. But it's simply NOT the duty of the news media to help save a good progressive from her own stupidity, just as it's not their job to save a 'good' Republican from his stupidity either.

    Can you not see that you are advocating for a double standard?


    As you said before, (none / 0) (#104)
    by Joan in VA on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:30:01 PM EST
    her political career was between her and Obama. I don't know if  she resigned or he fired her but it was in no way the fault of the reporter.

    "the Book of Karmic Accounts"?? (none / 0) (#119)
    by shoephone on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:22:48 PM EST
    I highly doubt the reporter is concerned with her karma. Nor should she be.  

    This really is past the point of absurdity.


    Yes (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:40:48 PM EST
    In my small world I learned the lesson the hard way. Since then, I will always know that when talking to a journalist to keep my mouth shut about things I do not want to be reading the next day.

    To imagine that these seasoned politickers would be surprised by seeing the words that they uttered in a journalists presence is not believable.


    Yes. Samantha Power is teaching at Harvard. She's (none / 0) (#60)
    by derridog on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:10:46 PM EST
    a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School and she's written several books.   But she doesn't know that journalists write down what you say in interview?

    The Problem (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:32:56 PM EST
    Was, that she thought it was a fact. A fact so obvious to all, that there would be nothing newsworthy about it. Like saying life is a b*tch.

    Jouralists should be doing (none / 0) (#34)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:43:51 PM EST
    their best to help Obama, is the gist of Bowers' argument. Why can't he be happy with MSNBC?

    I deleted the comment (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:47:01 PM EST
    you are replying to for personal attacks on Chris.

    ACitizen, please respect our comment policy, I know you know what it is.


    I read that Bowers' post earlier. (none / 0) (#55)
    by MarkL on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:04:45 PM EST
    It was hilarious.
    Real journalism is like being doused with ice water, to these guys.

    Yes, I was formulating (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by zyx on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:38:23 PM EST
    my response...

    I'm not a journalist, but I am very interested in the field, or what is left of it.  And when bloggers pretend to be journalists (and fall waaaay short) or lecture about journalism and reveal their ignorance, they make me laugh.

    This is one of those occasions.

    And I think this business about wrecking Power's career is overblown.  She has a career at a university, right?  The campaign thing was a sideline.  It appears it wasn't something she was very good at.


    Yes, exactly (none / 0) (#71)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:17:14 PM EST
    as if they know anything at all about real journalism...

    I wonder if Power has particular animus (none / 0) (#76)
    by JJE on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:24:41 PM EST
    toward Clinton that motivated that offensive remark.  Power has done a lot of work on the Rwandan genocide and may have been offended by Clinton's novel and rather absurd claim that she was pushing Bill to do more to intervene.

    "MOTIVATED" (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:34:28 PM EST
     It's Hillary's fault that she got called a monster.  Got it.  

    It's absurd to you (none / 0) (#89)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:40:35 PM EST
    only because you happen to support a different candidate.  There is nothing particularly unbelievable about it otherwise.

    But ... (none / 0) (#82)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:33:04 PM EST
    But then how else are politicians going to be able to control and manipulate the media, and get the so-called "journalists" to like them and consider them friends they would never think of hurting?

    Two separate issues (none / 0) (#85)
    by flyerhawk on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:37:28 PM EST
    1.  Samantha Powers made a colossal blunder.  Whatever her reasons she should have never used that word.

    2.  The reporter could have just as easily not published the word but knew it would get buzz and chose buzz over discretion.

    It disappoints me because I think very highly of Ms. Power.  I do hope she gets back into the Obama Administration, if they do win in November.

    This is simply ridiculous (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:48:46 PM EST
    I simply find the comments from Obama supporters in this thread so ridiculous to be best attributed to candidate love than anything else.

    My gawd.


    Heh (5.00 / 4) (#99)
    by Steve M on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 07:08:29 PM EST
    Try putting the shoe on the other foot.

    "The media didn't have to report what Hillary said about MLK, the only story was that she phrased something a little clumsily."

    "The media didn't have to report what Bill said about Jesse Jackson, why wreck a guy's reputation over a single comment in the heat of the moment."

    It is pretty comical.  By the way, the upshot of these arguments is that even if she hadn't said "wait, that's off the record!" the paper should have refrained from printing it anyway.


    What exactly (none / 0) (#114)
    by flyerhawk on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 08:41:03 PM EST
    about my comment was ridiculous?  Please enlighten me as to what I said that was so outrageous.

    that you need it explained (none / 0) (#126)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 12:48:12 AM EST
    is ridiculous in and of itself.

    Oh, for goodness sake (none / 0) (#90)
    by caseyOR on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:43:13 PM EST
    Of course she will be back in if Obama wins in November. I suspect she is still in now. She has no public responsibility with the campaign, but does anyone seriously think Obama has stopped talking to his long-time foreign policy advisor?

    I am frankly aghast (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 06:53:38 PM EST
    at how all these Obama supporters now want the media to do for Obama what they did for Bush all these years.

    As each day passes I find it more and more difficult to find any difference between the mentality of the average online Obama supporter and that of the typical redstater.


    There you go (none / 0) (#115)
    by flyerhawk on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 08:42:46 PM EST
    That's the spirit.

    What I find really amusing is that my comment was considered so utterly crazed.  Gosh I said that Power screwed up and that the reporter could have not printed it but chose to because it would it would get huge attention.

    Lordy is that just some crazy talk.


    It absolutely is (none / 0) (#127)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 12:49:00 AM EST
    I am embarrassed for you frankly.

    Flexibility? (none / 0) (#121)
    by rghojai on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:30:54 PM EST
    Having done some reporting, talked about these things a fair bit with colleagues, feels like people will make judgment calls (be it right or wrong).

    In talking to mayors, congressmen, state legislators, they'd often enough be on the record, say, "Let's go off the record for a minute." The prevailing view, to include those of our editors, was that doing it that way was okay. (One could also say no, gotta be 100-percent on the record.)

    Felt like public officials were expected to know that sort of thing and if they didn't, said something on the record and wanted to have it back, too bad.

    That said, there was a tendency to cut some people a little slack, depending on who they were. A colleague interviewed a young Olympian who said something that could be construed as racist (relating to a race of people and their physiques). My colleague said something like "You don't wanna be saying that and I'll give you a break this one time."

    I had occasion to interview Fred Goldman (father of Ron, who was almost certainly murdered by OJ) after OJ was found liable for the murders, in civil court. I'd heard that Goldman did not refer to OJ by name. At one point I referred to OJ as "the man found liable for your son's murder."

    Goldman said, "YOU MEAN THAT PIECE OF $#!+?!?!...... don't print that."

    Could I have stood on solid journalism ground and printed it along the lines of "piece of (excrement)?" Sure. Right or wrong, I chose not to  do it, though I did refer to something like "flashes of searing anger."

    With Power, to me, she damn well should have been more careful, known how things are done... though it makes me wonder how much she and people like her are used to being able to retract things.

    What part of the word "reporter" (none / 0) (#129)
    by splashy on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 05:13:39 AM EST
    Don't they get?

    They report. If you talk to a reporter, you may as well figure that they will report it to others. That's just the way it works.

    Their function is the same as the biggest gossip around, male or female. You want the word to get out? Tell them. If you don't, then you better NOT tell them ANYTHING.

    Pretty simple.

    what makes me, should I say laugh, (none / 0) (#131)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 01:39:45 PM EST
    is that I didn't see this kind of kind heartedness for Ferraro who are so tender hearted for Power.  Mind, that I don't remember Ferraro insulting anybody but the same people who want to cut Power slack wanted her head.