Watchdog Blog

Archive for January, 2007

Morton Mintz: Questions on Highway Safety, and for Sunday Talk Shows

Reporters should press National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Nicole Nason to address hard questions suggested by a predecessor in a Jan. 28 New York Times Op-Ed. The reason for asking the questions couldn’t be plainer: They bear heavily on whether many of us will be needlessly killed or injured every year. Joan Claybrook asked why [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Sixth Grandchild

Vice president Cheney became especially testy during a recent interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when the subject turned to the pregnancy of Cheney’s unmarried daughter, Mary. Twice Cheney bluntly told Blitzer, “You’re out of line” when Blitzer asked the vice president to respond to conservative critics of Mary Cheney‘s decision to “conceive a child outside [...]

Saul Friedman: Carter Used the Right Word — Apartheid — in His Book Title

I have not read a line of President Jimmy Carter’s book, only the title, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Nor can I vouch for his analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; critics say he gets some things wrong and that may be. But with the press standing idly by, Carter is generally criticized and accused of anti-Semitism [...]

Herb Strentz: Checking Online Corrections

How good a job are newspapers doing with online corrections? Occasional and highly informal surfing among the usual suspects of newspapers suggests newspapers are doing a better job of at least providing access to corrections of mistakes, errors, misstatements, etc. That lengthy wording of corrections is necessary; several months to a year ago, looking for [...]

Saul Friedman: An Unnoticed Invasion of Privacy

I doubt if many of our colleagues in the press have noticed that the Bush administration, with the aid of the last Republican congress, began on January 1 an unprecedented invasion of the privacy of some 43 million older and disabled Americans, beneficiaries of Medicare. That most of the press did not notice is understandable. [...]

Herb Strentz: Some Candidates, Like Tom Vilsack, Have a Record on FOI Requests. Why Not Report It?

Lost in the examination of political candidates for high office – perhaps understandably – are clues to their freedom of information record or philosophy. How they stand on access to government information takes second or third fiddle at best to concerns about Iraq, Social Security, about how to lessen the rancor and divisiveness in the [...]

Morton Mintz: Warbloggers and Their Dimwitted, Malicious Crusades

Journalists who criticize the mainstream press in hopes of making it better do so in the belief that, as Bill Moyers once put it, “the quality of journalism and the quality of democracy are inseparable.” From that belief flows a corollary: Commentators and bloggers who attack the mainstream press malignly, carelessly, and, on commercial television [...]

Barry Sussman: Cutting Funding for the Vietnam War: a Precedent for Iraq?

Talk about Congress cutting funding for the Iraq war has been moving from a mumble to what I expect will be a roar before long. It brings me back to a moment in the spring of 1973 when the House voted to block military aid for South Vietnam, the first step in a series of [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: McClatchy Veers from White Hat Image in Sale of the Strib

To put in perspective the sale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune by McClatchy to an investment firm it helps to recall that the Strib was a sister paper of the Des Moines Register when both were owned by members of the Cowles family. The fate of the Register, sold to the highest bidder (Gannett) in [...]

Morton Mintz: Questions for Nancy Pelosi–and Every House Leader & Member

Simply by installing “two digital cameras in every committee and subcommittee room,” the House could let citizens go on the Web to view all committee and subcommittee meetings–including oversight hearings–and thus erode “the power of K Street lobbyists who use ‘insider’ information gleaned from committee meetings to justify their fees.” The House could also easily [...]