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Saul Friedman: Beware the Conventional Wise Guys

In my first post on this site, after many years covering politics, I warned that we should “run like hell” from the conventional wisdom. Well, Sen. Barack Obama has barely gotten used to being President-elect Obama and here came the conventional wise guys. Their message: don’t overreach…govern to the bipartisan… Even before the election, [...]

Saul Friedman: What Hath Deregulation Wrought?

Anyone think there are too many commercials on network television, and that some of them cross the line of decency and good taste? It wasn’t always that way. Or do you think that all those commercials for this drug or that one are unseemly and possibly dangerous? That wasn’t always permitted. Are you as confident [...]

Saul Friedman: Medicare Choices–Are They Necessary?

This is the time of the year the government perpetuates a problem for millions of Americans, and most of the press goes along because of its superficial knowledge. The issue is Medicare Part D, which too few of my colleagues in the press know about. Each year since the Part D drug benefit, passed by [...]

Saul Friedman: McCain’s Choice of Palin Has Made His Age an Issue

A couple of months ago, in the seniors column I write on my day job for Newsday, I rejected age as an issue in the presidential campaign. But I added, “if age is to be a factor in the coming race… perhaps the most important issue may be whom Sen. John McCain, 72, chooses as [...]

Saul Friedman: No Matter Who Wins, The Bankers Can’t Lose

Has anyone among our mainstream political pundits noticed that however this presidential election turns out, the bankers can’t lose? The bankers I speak of are a strange pair of allies: former Sen. Phil Gramm, a right-wing Texas Republican, who remains an economic adviser for Sen. John McCain, and Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton [...]

Saul Friedman: Should the Press Lobby For Civil Liberties?

One would think that the American press, of all institutions, would be on the front lines of the battle to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against the Bush administration, which has become a law unto itself. It has given us close to an imperial presidency, countenancing torture, extreme rendition, internal spying, outrageous [...]

Saul Friedman: Assign a Police Reporter to the White House

Following up on a piece by Gil Cranberg, I wonder if it isn’t time for the mainstream press to treat the president as it would any suspect of a crime, in this case, war crimes, which are punishable under American law. After all, we’ve seen endless stories about all sorts of crimes and suspects. The [...]

Saul Friedman: The Question’s the Thing. No Fawning, Please

At the Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau, where I worked for a time, there was a photograph on the wall of my first bureau chief, the late and legendary newsman from Chicago, Ed Lahey, with his memorable words of advice: “Do not fawn upon the mighty.” That comes to mind when I read transcripts of presidential news [...]

Saul Friedman: Stories That Go Nowhere Because They’re Ignored

I know, it’s a rule of the mainstream press. If the issue is not going anywhere, it’s not worth much of a story. Of course, if it’s not given much of a story, it’s not going anywhere. It’s like that old conundrum about the tree falling in the forest. Here are a couple of trees. [...]

Saul Friedman: Partisan Politics and TV Pundits

Where is Larry Spivak now that we need him? Alas, Lawrence E. Spivak, creator and founder of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and its best panelist, died in 1994 at the age of 93. As The New York Times said, Spivak was one of the first broadcasters to use panels of reporters (imagine!) to interview national [...]