20 biggest news stories of ‘06

December 27, 2006 at 9:28 am

John Hawkins runs down the list and offers this little tidbit about the number one story:

Hold onto your wallets and burn proof your American flags because the Democrats are back in charge and this time? It’s personal!


Old media moving toward new

December 13, 2006 at 9:22 am

The New York Times:

Mike Allen, a reporter who covers the White House for Time magazine, and Roger Simon, the chief political correspondent for Bloomberg News, are joining the new multimedia political news venture being overseen by two former Washington Post journalists.

That new enterprise now has a name — The Politico, which is its newspaper, and thepolitico.com, its Web site. The name supplants The Capitol Leader, which had been its working title until it broadened in scope.

Both the newspaper and Web site are to begin publication on Jan. 23, the date of the president’s State of the Union address, one of the most-covered rituals on the Washington political calendar. In addition to writing about Congress, The Politico will focus on the 2008 presidential campaign.

The moves by Mr. Allen, 42, and Mr. Simon, 58, mark another step by traditional “old media” journalists toward a “new media” venture that is largely online, although both are writing or have written for the Web, and Mr. Allen will stay in Time magazine’s print version with a new column about the White House. The Politico is being financed by the deep pockets of Allbritton Communications and overseen by John Harris, the former political editor of The Washington Post, and Jim VandeHei, a former national political reporter for The Post.

NY Times editors slam congressional Dems

December 7, 2006 at 9:44 am

Stop the presses! The NY Times editorial board is going after Dems for cherry picking campaign promises:

Weeks before they take majority control of the Capitol, the Democrats are reported to be wriggling out of one of their most important campaign vows: to repair Congressional oversight of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Congress was found to be nothing less than “dysfunctional” on this duty by the Sept. 11 commission, which wisely recommended a full-scale revamping of the committee structure.

This necessarily means a wrenching change in the budget powers over intelligence exercised by the bulls of the defense appropriations process — a monopoly that reduces the intelligence committees to secondary lap dogs. When the Republican-controlled Congress showed no appetite for a turf fight, Democrats eagerly made a campaign vow to promptly enact all of the panel’s recommendations.

Now that they can taste power again, however, the victors seem to be having second thoughts. Instead of attempting wholesale committee reform in the first weeks of Congress, Democratic leaders may punt the idea toward oblivion in some sort of a study panel, according to The Washington Post. Nothing could be more disappointing to voters.

The Sept. 11 commission report was not sacred writ. And Democrats still vow to enact major commission recommendations to bolster port security and screen airport cargo. But the lawmakers cannot ignore the fact that they were found to be an organic part of the problem. Surely, the leaders of the new Congress know they will be risking the nation’s security, far more than their credibility, if they retreat from the vow to do a stronger job of oversight.

Senate Republicans building new message team

December 5, 2006 at 1:29 pm

Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are assembling a new team to get out the GOP message.

Roll Call reports:

McConnell still is assembling his team, but the incoming Minority Leader is working to hire a handful of message, new media and speech-writing staffers to work for the new communications arm. It is expected to be up and running before Jan. 3, when the Senate reconvenes for the 110th Congress.

McConnell currently is coordinating with the other five incoming GOP leaders and rank-and-file party members to figure out ways to increase their participation in communicating the Republican message. He also is working with other Senators and leaders to carve out particular roles, in both policy and communications, to advance the party’s goals.

McConnell wants the party’s communications operation to be a “team” effort that taps into the strengths of individual Senators, sources close to the Senator said.

This is welcome news. Now that congressional conservatives are in the minority, message, not legislation, is the name of the game. Democrats are in control and they will schedule legislation for both the House and Senate floors. Republicans must find a way to get their message out no matter what bills Dems bring to the floor.

The tools to do this exist, especially in the Senate. The great freedom senators enjoy allows them to offer amendments to virtually any legislative vehicle crossing the Senate floor. Every liberal bill scheduled for floor debate must be seen as an opportunity for conservatives to change the conversation by offering their alternatives.

Additionally, with 49 Republicans in the minority, McConnell will have all the leverage he needs to slow down or stop big spending liberal bills. But when Republicans do this, they need to make it clear that they are not obstructing progress in the Senate. Rather, they need to explain that they are fighting for the American taxpayer’s right to keep more of the money he or she earns.

A final thought: when Republicans proposed the Contract with America in 1994 they did not necessarily emphasize “conservatism.” Rather, they emphasized conservative issues that were popular with conservatives, moderates and even some liberals (think welfare reform). There is nothing wrong with conservatives picking agenda items that are popular with a broad swath of the American people and then employing the proper messaging strategy to push those agenda items.

Civil war?

November 28, 2006 at 1:54 pm

NBC News has decided to call the conflict in Iraq a civil war:

NEW YORK — NBC News on Monday began referring to the Iraq conflict as a civil war, adopting a phrase that President Bush and many other news organizations have avoided.

Matt Lauer said on the “Today” show that “after careful consideration, NBC News has decided that a change in terminology is warranted, that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas can now be characterized as civil war.'’ The network’s cable news outlet, MSNBC, drummed the point home repeatedly by using the phrase “Iraq: The Civil War” on the screen.

Predictably, liberal talk show hosts like Keith Olbermann are ecstatic at the newtork’s decision. “Is this the Walter Cronkite moment of the Iraq War?” wonders Olbermann on last night’s show.

Unfortunately for Olbermann and the rest, the media no longer hold the power they did in Cronkite’s era. There is not a news anchor in the biz who holds the trust of the American people the way Cronkite did, and that is probably a good thing.

That is not to say NBC’s determination to paint as bleak a picture of Iraq as it can is not damaging. I think it is. But today, unlike in Cronkite’s time, there are other media outlets to counter them.

Hotline on Call rounds up reactions here.

Why isn’t the media covering this?

November 20, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Pajamas Media has the scoop on an Iranian dissident being held in inhumane conditions at a Russian airport. Zahra Kamalfar has been detained now for 73 days along with her two children. At present, the Russians plan to ship the family back to Iran to receive whatever “justice” the evil regime plans to dispense.

What agenda?

November 13, 2006 at 8:26 am

I love how the New York Times waits until after the elections to offer this very real criticism of the Democrats:

“So far they have shared slogans, but no real policy…[C]riticism will not extricate the United States from this mess…”

Fox News launches new website

September 21, 2006 at 10:51 am

The reviews of Fox News’s new site are not so great…

35,000 protest Ahmadinejad at UN

September 21, 2006 at 8:30 am

35,000 people showed up in New York to protest the Iranian leader when he delivered a speech to the United Nations, yet the mainstream press didn’t bother to report it.

Glenn Reynolds:

IF 35,000 PEOPLE HAD MARCHED AGAINST BUSH OUTSIDE THE U.N., it would have gotten a lot more coverage. But 35,000 against Ahmadinejad? Not so much.

Media news

September 21, 2006 at 8:12 am

Tech Central Station has a new owner…