Watchdog Blog

Archive for August, 2007

Gilbert Cranberg: Those White House Speech Writers

Now and then I hear George W. Bush praised for the eloquence of his remarks in a prepared speech. I do not usually want to embarrass or disillusion the listener by explaining the facts of life about White House speechmaking. However, anyone who reads Matthew Scully’s tell-all takeout in the September Atlantic on his days [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Falling for Style Over Substance in Politics

David Yepsen, the Des Moines Register’s chief political writer, lately has described how some of the presidential candidates stack up in terms of their presidential personas. To Yepsen, Barack Obama “looked presidential” in a recent debate, and Fred Thompson “looks the part of a president and carries himself that way. His slow talk and deep [...]

Saul Friedman: Lies, Lies and Damned Lies

I think I understand at least one reason why so many readers now look to media critics and blogs, like this one, to provide the rest of the story, and maybe some truth. For it seems to me that too many straight reporters have been unable or unwilling to confront and challenge official lies. And [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: No Predictions, Please; Just Tell Us What Happened

Those who want to quit Iraq in a hurry and those who believe we should stay have a lot in common: both purport to be able to foretell the future. The predictions are poles apart: the exit-now camp envisions Iraq calming down when the irritant of the U.S. occupation ends; the stay-longer faction foresees that [...]

Morton Mintz: You Could Almost Feel Sorry for Murdoch

David Carr’s elegant New York Times dissection of the editorial agreement between the News Corporation and the Wall Street Journal revealed that Paul A. Gigot, the Journal’s editorial-page editor, helped to write it. This could generate a momentary surge of sympathy for Rupert Murdoch. Historically, Carr pointed out in his piece on Aug. 6th, the [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Iowa Caucuses and First-in-the-Nationitis

As states try to elbow each other out of the way to lead off the presidential nominating race, Iowa’s secretary of state, Michael Mauro, told the New York Times, “We intend on maintaining our status as first in the nation.” Not that Mauro has a say in the matter. Unlike New Hampshire, where the state [...]

Saul Friedman: A Question for the Candidates: Do You Believe in Big Government?

Perhaps we should give up asking President Bush any more questions. While the questions may be interesting, his answers, I’m certain, will be useless or irrelevant. But there is an important and possibly revealing question to be asked of the presidential candidates, especially the Democrats, for we can presume what the Republicans will say. And [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: My own experience with friendly fire

A three-star general was rebuked and may lose a star and a half-dozen other brass took it on the chin last week for their part in misleading the public and the family of Pat Tillman in the aftermath of his accidental death three years ago in Afghanistan. The military had gone so far as to [...]

Cornelia Carrier: Infrastructure Wake-Up

First it was New Orleans levees, now the I-35 West bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Two examples of the country’s deteriorating infrastructure. Today on NPR’s Day to Day, Thomas Rooney, a civil engineer based in St. Louis, talking with Alex Cohen about bridge safety, shocked me by saying that one bridge collapses every [...]

Saul Friedman: Time for a Closer Look at Condoleeza Rice

So far, of all the top officials in the Bush administration, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has gotten away relatively unscathed in the main stream press. Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, George Tenet, the Joint Chiefs and President Bush himself have taken punishment, at least in the polls. But except for her shoe buying during the [...]