Watchdog Blog

Archive for December, 2007

Saul Friedman: The Press, The Religious Right and the Wall of Separation

I often wonder why most of the mainstream reporters and editorialists don’t make the connection between the first two most basic guarantees in the First Amendment and their own responsibilities for making them whole: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of [...]

Mary C. Curtis: Remembering the Past, Fearing the Future

A recent Newsweek magazine article examined “The Roots of Fear,” providing scientific evidence of why appealing to our fears works. Apparently, we’re hard-wired to panic first and ask questions later. That comes in handy when you hear a loud noise in a dark alley. But in other circumstances – such as picking a president – [...]

Herb Strentz: Of Horseshoes, Hand Grenades and the Iowa Caucuses

“Close enough” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and the Democratic Party’s side of the first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses. The wisdom of including horseshoes and hand grenades in “close enough” is self-evident. As for Iowa politics — critics will say that compared to the caucuses the Electoral College is a model of precision and expression [...]

Morton Mintz: Questions of Fairness and Wisdom

Two one-word questions for presidential, House and Senate candidates are suggested by a Dec. 15 New York Times article. Here’s how David Cay Johnston began the piece, which deserved page A1 but ran on B3: “The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of [...]

Mary C. Curtis: Even Celebrity is Serious

The Oprah-Obama show was all over the news this weekend. Sure, Winfrey’s celebrity and clout signaled the perfect blend of pop culture and politics that has become routine. If Barbra Streisand starts touring with Hillary Clinton, expect more of the same. But as someone who was there to witness the crowd of nearly 30,000 file [...]

Saul Friedman: The Sleeping Press and the Coming of the Thought Police

Just the title of the bill making its way through the Congress ought to frighten hell out of us or at least prompt a reporter worth his or her computer to find out more: “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act.” Yet so far no one in the Main Stream Media–newspapers, television or [...]

Dan Froomkin: Citizen Journalists, Start Your Engines!

Bloggers and other citizen journalists have a new and exciting opportunity to find and shed light on stories the mainstream media are missing – by combing through transcripts of recent Congressional oversight hearings. Without any fanfare, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has started posting preliminary transcripts of many of its hearings on its [...]

Herb Strentz: Iowa Arithmetic: for Democrats, 1%, 10%, 14.9% All Equal Zero

DES MOINES—“Who you gonna caucus for?” is a common question in Iowa these days. For some reason, perhaps the public declarations we make at our precincts, caucus preferences are fair game in conversations – much more so than “Who you gonna vote for?” is in November. In response to my question, a friend said his [...]