Watchdog Blog

Archive for October, 2008

Myra MacPherson: Remembering Studs Terkel

This great and compassionate man was a “writer’s writer” and a “reporter’s reporter” — someone we all vainly hoped to emulate in his vision and passion for the average man and in the care he took to encourage young writers. He was 96 when he died, and yet it seems way too soon. His voice [...]

Carolyn Lewis: The Idiot Wind

The October 31st headline on The Washington Post editorial said it all: An ‘Idiot Wind.’ Long after the election, I expect that wind will continue to blow, because such habits of mind have a way of perpetuating themselves. The phrase was uttered by Rashid Khalidi, an American-born scholar who heads a Middle East Institute at [...]

Mary C. Curtis: Catholics Count, Again

Every four years, Catholics matter. We get a lot of non-Catholics telling us how we have to vote, what issues matter most and why we will go to hell if we don’t listen to their advice. Bishops and priests weigh in, telling us in letters and from the altar that we should vote. Sometimes they [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Chalk Up Another One for Kristol & Co.

John McCain is taking his lumps for the decision to make Sarah Palin his running mate. The Washington Post said its endorsement of Barack Obama was simplified by McCain’s “irresponsible selection” of Palin “who is not ready to be president.” The New York Times declared that McCain’s choice of someone “so evidently unfit for the [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Mr. Bush, Are You Planning Any Preemptive Pardons?

Remember President Gerald Ford’s 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon? The disgraced Nixon was pardoned although he faced no charges at the time. Ford said he acted because “serious allegations and accusations hang like a sword over our former president’s head.” As George W. Bush prepares to exit the White House, are more preemptive pardons on [...]

Dan Froomkin: What Part of Our Nature Are the Candidates Appealing To?

Campaign reporters are watching the McCain-Palin campaign implode in an unseemly orgy of fearmongering. But many of these reporters appear to be holding back their honest assessments, restrained by their sense of fairness and objectivity (not to mention their deep-seated need for a close election to make them feel consequential). What to do? When fact-checking, [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Somebody Please Remind the Press: The Court is at Stake in This Election

The Washington Post’s Oct. 17 editorial endorsing Barack Obama was no shocker. Surprising, though, was its barely-breathing treatment of the Supreme Court as an issue. Justice John Paul Stevens is 88 and Justice Ruth B. Ginsberg 75, so who gets to name successors in the next four years is critical. The Post’s lengthy overall appraisal [...]

Mary C. Curtis: The Powell Endorsement

So sad, and so predictable. Retired general Colin Powell makes a detailed and reasoned case for his support of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. He praises his friend John McCain, but laments the direction of the Republican Party, the negative tone of its campaign and the readiness of Sarah Palin. The Republican military [...]

Carolyn Lewis: Boo! It’s Socialism!

In true Halloween spirit, the latest message from the McCain campaign to voters is this: The goblins will get you if you don’t watch out. And the biggest goblin of all is socialism. What in blazes is socialism, and why should we be afraid of it? In its extreme form, socialism means total government control [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Do You Want a Shield Law that Protects Anthony Martin?

There are journalists and then there are so-called journalists. In the latter camp is Anthony Martin, featured in a hour-long program on Fox news recently, in which he was presented as a journalist. Martin is an obsessive critic of Barack Obama (he says Obama once trained to overthrow the government) and is the source of [...]