NBC Sports Blog Lifts Steel Curtain on ESPN’s Roethlisberger Rape Embargo

by matttbastard

If only the GENERAL mainstream media establishment would go after each other with this kind of righteous gusto when warranted — as is DEFINITELY the case here:

“We really don’t want our coverage of the civil lawsuit filed against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to become an exercise in the bashing of ESPN.  We’ve got some friends who work there (maybe not as many after today), and we don’t generally believe that the network is evil or corrupt or otherwise nasty.

“However, we do believe that the network is way too large for its own good, and that unless and until a true competitor emerges, it’s up to everyone else to point out those occasions when the emperor is riding both bareback and bareassed.

“The handling of the Roethlisberger case makes us wonder whether there’s a complete firewall between the business functions of ESPN and its journalistic activities.  We say this because we’re convinced that the Roethlisberger story initially was ignored due to concerns that ESPN would be jeopardizing its access to the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, who also happens to play for the team with the most loyal and rabid fan base in America.

The entire post is a must-read, take-no-prisoners smackdown that shows ESPN to indeed “be riding both barebacked and bareassed” (first uncovered by NBC Sports here). And it would seem that the spanking has made an impact, as ProFootballTalk reports in an update:

Technically, ESPN is now acknowledging the report, albeit unwittingly.  As of this posting, the “Top Stories From ABC News” box on ESPN.com’s various pages includes the headline, “Woman:  Super Bowl QB Raped Me.”

Again, if only…

h/t WAM! co-founder & Yes Means Yes co-editor Jaclyn Friedman

(Her take on the Roethlisberger rape suit and ESPN’s initial refusal to cover the story here)

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This Just in: Nancy Pelosi is the New Hillary Clinton (ie, Flypaper for Misogynists)

by matttbastard

Fair. And. Fucking. Balanced.

Fer srs:

One bone of contention, Antonia: saying that anything spawned by the gliberati who rule USian cable NOOZ networks and talk radio even remotely constitutes ‘news commentary’ is akin to earnestly declaring that Barack Obama is an unreconstructed Marxist.

Er, ok–never mind. If America didn’t already exist The Onion would have to invent it.

Yeesh.

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Torture Architect John Yoo Gets Monthly Column in Philly Inquirer

by matttbastard

Clicky-clicky the image for more

Um, wha?

John Yoo has written freelance commentaries for The Inquirer since 2005, however he entered into a contract to write a monthly column in late 2008. I won’t discuss the compensation of anyone who writes for us. Of course, we know more about Mr. Yoo’s actions in the Justice Department now than we did at the time we contracted him. But we did not blindly enter into our agreement. He’s a Philadelphian, and very knowledgeable about the legal subjects he discusses in his commentaries. Our readers have been able to get directly from Mr. Yoo his thoughts on a number of subjects concerning law and the courts, including measures taken by the White House post-9/11. That has promoted further discourse, which is the objective of newspaper commentary.

Will Bunch nails it:

No personal disrespect toward Harold Jackson (a well-regarded colleague with whom I’ve crossed career paths in two far-flung cities, with many mutual friends) but I could not disagree more. None of this is a good enough justification for awarding a column to America’s top defender of such a serious human rights violation as torture — certainly not the fact that he’s now a celebrated Philadelphian (so is disgraced state Sen. Vince Fumo, who could be handed a political column based on this kind of rationale). Sure, his warped viewpoint that the president of our once-proud democracy can assume virtually dictatorial powers is controversial enough to “promote further discourse” (so did George Will’s recent blatantly misleading column on climate change) but that alone hardly makes something worth publishing.

But while promoting public discourse is a goal of newspaper commentary, it should not be the main objective. The higher calling for an American newspaper should be promoting and maintaining our sometimes fragile democracy, the very thing that Yoo and his band of torture advocates very nearly shredded in a few short years. Quite simply, by handing Yoo a regularly scheduled platform for his viewpoint, the Inquirer is telling its readers that Yoo’s ideas — especially that torture is not a crime against the very essence of America — are acceptable.

Hmm, I wonder if Charles Manson is too busy carving swastikas into his forehead to phone in 500 words a month, too? In the interest of “promoting further discourse,” natch. I hear he’s also really knowledgeable about legal subjects.

Cough.

h/t Sarah via tweet

Update: more from Sarah, who suggests that the Inky hire another celebrated Philadelphian to provide further discourse (and a counterpoint to  that whiny fuckhelmet Michael Smerconish.)

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Dear Associated Press

by matttbastard

1992 called–it wants its appalling lack of journalistic ethics and standards back.

No, seriously–you keep making shit up, with no apparent interest in sifting through unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture to find a nugget of fact. Hint: continually filing meat-free stories with breathless headlines like “Senate-for-sale case threatens new chief of staff” is a good way to brand yourselves as the Fox Newswire. Not to say that you’ve collectively lowered yourselves to the histrionic level of Professional Obama Haters (yet); but the desperate Blagobamarahmbogate obsession is getting a bit pathetic.

At this point, it seems that the primary source fuelling most of the recent unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture regarding Blagobamarahmbogate is–wait for it–the Associated Press. As Steve Benen said, “[a]s serious as Blagojevich’s problems are, it sounds like the Obama/transition team angle is a dud. There’s just nothing there.” So why, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since 19-fucking-29, do you insist on flailing and floundering with great speculative ado over, um, nothing?

Newsflash: there’s no clutter left to cut through, kids; you’ve totally eviscerated the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing Ron Fournier’s new mandate: your credibility.

in fairness and balance,

matttbastard

PS: George Stephanopolus would like to formally apologize for taking the wind out of your sails today. Not that this latest no-shit-revelation will be enough to stem the speculative bluster emanating from your Washington Bureau. But one can always hope you’ll now start charting a new course.

(I know, and a dapple-fucking-grey pony.)

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Inverted Priorities and Blagojevich Coverage

by matttbastard

Apparently the general public isn’t as concerned about the faux-Blagobamagate taint as the MSM would love to believe:

Public ratings of Barack Obama are unscathed by the scandal swirling around Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s apparent effort to trade off his power to appoint Obama’s successor to the U.S. Senate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than three-quarters of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the presidential transition, up significantly from three weeks ago, and a slim majority in the new poll said the president-elect has already done enough to explain any connections his staff may have had with Blagojevich.

But, as Steve Benen notes, a new Rasmussen poll does seem to indicate that the constant bombardment of MSM innuendo and conjecture is beginning to make a dent in the public consciousness–either that, or the poor phrasing of the question affected the response:

Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.

Just 11% say it is not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Thursday and Friday nights.

The exact wording of the question was: “How likely is it that President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the Blagojevich scandal?”

The problem, of course, is that “involved” is more than a little ambiguous. For that matter, asking about “Obama or one of his top campaign aides” opens the door awfully wide.

Indeed, while I suspect some news outlets will pounce on the Rasmussen results as evidence of public doubts about Obama, the exact same pollster, on the exact same day, found that Obama’s approval rating is still soaring, and one point shy of a post-election high.

In other words, looking at the Rasmussen numbers, Americans either a) believe the president-elect or his team were part of a major corruption scandal, but don’t care; or b) think Obama or his aides were “involved,” but not in a way that reflects badly on the president-elect or his team. My hunch is that it’s the latter.

Regardless, as Benen further observes, the Village appears bound and determined to ride their new (dead) pony into the ground, despite the lack of public concern:

Yglesias tuned into MSNBC this morning, and found a “lengthy discussion of Obama’s involvement in Blagojevich’s corruption.” It follows a week of inexplicable media reports about Obama’s non-existent role in the matter, reality notwithstanding.

Not surprising, if one uses the following agenda that Mark Halperin laid out yesterday as an outline of Village priorities:

1. Watch the Blagojevich affair. …

2. Watch Obama’s press conference to unveil his environmental and energy team. …

3. Watch the economy.

Yes, in that order.  Look, the Blago affair is the political equivalent of Britney Spear’s crotch, or Anna Nicole Smith’s corpse: a frivolous waste of journalistic resources that has stolen attention from an issue that the public overwhelmingly declared to be its number one priority on November 4th. This is exactly what Jamison Foser meant when he warned about the media distracting us from  “serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.”

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Foser: “[T]his week brought signs that much of the media is set to resume the absurd and shameful behavior that defined the 1990s”

by matttbastard

Jamison Foser on the Blagobamagate!!1 media circus:

If the news media regains a bit of the skepticism so many of them set aside for the past eight years, that would be an unequivocally good thing, and it should be applauded.

But this week brought signs that much of the media is set to resume the absurd and shameful behavior that defined the 1990s — guilt by association, circular analysis whereby they ask baseless questions about non-scandals, then claim they have to report on the “scandal” because the White House is “besieged by questions,” grotesque leaps of logic, downplaying exculpatory information, and too many other failings to list.

If that happens — if the media continue to behave as they did in covering Whitewater — they will damage the country. It’s really that simple. We cannot afford to be distracted from serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.

IOW, less Blago, more bailout.

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Media Maestros Strike a Sour Note

by matttbastard

Via Hugh Hewitt groupie Mark Halperin, we see that The Politico is still going strong in its crusade to make the Blago affair into Whitewater 2.0. Incidentally, Halperin, in a move that will shock and disgust you (cough) jumps on the irresponsible headline bandwagon–um, “Obama Faces the Blago  Music” implies that Obama will soon be forced to confront the unpleasant results of his own actions (oh noes!)  Kinda difficult, when you aren’t, y’know, actually accused of doing anything, apart from being a bit player in Gov. Blago’s comedy of errors.

Even more difficult when the author of the original criminal complaint , US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, plainly stated “We make no allegations that  [Obama] was aware of anything.”

Not that ‘facts’ (slowly going the way of the buffalo in today’s post-clutter corporate media environment) will likely stop the press from raising a cacophony of dissonant allegations during today’s sure-to-be discordant press conference with the President elect.  And, courtesy Halperin, Kenneth P. Vogel and Carrie Budoff Brown have helpfully provided the sheet music, 7 Blago questions for Obama (nice segue after a lengthy digression, eh?)  Although after reading through the list (and the rationale behind each one) I think KPV and CBB forgot an eighth:

“When did you stop beating your wife, Mr. President-elect?”

Seriously, what do these New (Old) Media upstarts have against the classics?

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