Wherein I Agree With Glenn Greenwald AND John McCain – And Yet My Head Does Not Explode

I’m hanging in the lobby of our hotel in Fayetteville with Biggest Guy, we’re both surfing the web and he brings up the video of McCain and the NYT reporter Elisabeth Bumiller. We watched it and I asked him what he thought – he enjoyed it, and thought it made McCain look good. Shockingly, I kind of agreed. I’ve mentioned the incident where Giscard d’Estaing blew off a reporter who asked him about his illegitimate daughter – at the time, I was focused on politicians erecting a wall around their private lives. Looking at the McCain video, I realize that a big part of it was a politician stepping out of the role of sniffing the rear of the press to try and ensure a good relationship and, hopefully, good coverage. Via Memorandum, I also see Glenn Greenwald making the same point from the other side – about the way that the US press is a willing partner in the coverage tango, citing Tucker Carlson interviewing the reporter for the Scotsman whose interview tubed Samantha Power.

Here’s the quote (but go over and read Greenwald’s commentary as well):

CARLSON: What — she wanted it off the record. Typically, the arrangement is if someone you’re interviewing wants a quote off the record, you give it to them off the record. Why didn’t you do that?

PEEV: Are you really that acquiescent in the United States? In the United Kingdom, journalists believe that on or off the record is a principle that’s decided ahead of the interview. If a figure in public life.


PEEV: Someone who’s ostensibly going to be an advisor to the man who could be the most powerful politician in the world, if she makes a comment and decides it’s a bit too controversial and wants to withdraw it immediately after, unfortunately if the interview is on the record, it has to go ahead.

CARLSON: Right. Well, it’s a little.

PEEV: I didn’t set out in any way, shape.

CARLSON: Right. But I mean, since journalistic standards in Great Britain are so much dramatically lower than they are here, it’s a little much being lectured on journalistic ethics by a reporter from the “Scotsman,” but I wonder if you could just explain what you think the effect is on the relationship between the press and the powerful. People don’t talk to you when you go out of your way to hurt them as you did in this piece.

Don’t you think that hurts the rest of us in our effort to get to the truth from the principals in these campaigns?

PEEV: If this is the first time that candid remarks have been published about what one campaign team thinks of the other candidate, then I would argue that your journalists aren’t doing a very good job of getting to the truth. Now I did not go out of my way in any way, shape or form to hurt Miss Power. I believe she’s an intelligent and perfectly affable woman. In fact, she’s — she is incredibly intelligent so she — who knows she may have known what she was doing.

She regretted it. She probably acted with integrity. It’s not for me to decide one way or the other whether she did the right thing. But I did not go out and try to end her career.

See also Powerline’s dismissal of Power and the contentious interview with the BBC. I’m still digesting, and not sure I 100% agree re Power – but that’s real interviewing, not setting someone up for a puff – or hit – piece.

It’s A Tough Week To Be A Democrat

So Samantha Power didn’t exactly set me on fire, and this week she managed to show some foot-in-mouth disease and cost herself her role in the campaign, and her colleague Susan Rice explained that neither Obama nor Hillary are ready for the 3am call. Sheesh.But when I wonder why I can’t bring myself to support Hillary, there’s always this to shore me up:

Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.

The archivists’ decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.

Clinton’s legal agent declined the option of reviewing and releasing the documents that were withheld, said the archivists, who work for the federal government, not the Clintons.

And when I suggested that Obama’s idealistic foreign policy – the one sticking point in my support for him – wouldn’t survive contact with reality, I may just have been right:

For all the chatter about Obama adviser Samantha Power’s calling Clinton a “monster,” another set of remarks made on her book tour in the United Kingdom may be equally threatening to the Obama campaign: Comments in a BBC interview that express a lack of confidence that Obama will be able to carry through his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months.

“He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator,” she said at one point in the interview.

…or maybe that’s why she resigned?

The Self-Fulfilling Recession

Over at LA Biz Observed, Mark Lacter makes a point I’ve wondered about as well.

Never in my memory has the question of whether we’re entering a recession gotten so much attention, both in the press and on Wall Street. At this point the conventional wisdom is that a recession has either arrived or is about to. Certainly, there’s plenty of evidence pointing in that direction – tomorrow’s employment report is expected to be dismal – and yet Business Week’s Chris Farrell suggests that the half-filled glass crowd is getting shunted aside.

Then again, the natural cycles clear the brush for the ‘creative destruction’ I believe in so much. So maybe talking ourselves into an overdue recession isn’t such a bad thing…

Props (Jets, actually…)

…to Continental Airlines. I’m in Milwaukee (don’t ask, yes it’s cold) headed to North Carolina to see Biggest Guy. A storm is hitting my connection point in Cleveland, and there was no way I’d make my connection. The very nice rep just voluntarily reticketed me on a Midwest nonstop.

If I’m going to feel free to bitch about bad service, I’ve always felt that the price is the willingness to compliment people who give good service. Today I’m happy to pay it.

Sitting At The Airport Watching CNN…

…and noting that Citi’s CEO is defending his pay package – and being amazed that when times are trying and it’s necessary to reward him (and the others of his class) for navigating the treacherous shoals; and when times are good, I guess it’s important to reward them disproportionately because the company is so successful.

So paid well when the company does badly and paid well when the company does well. Somehow I think Joseph Schumpeter is grinning somewhere in heaven.

I guess I should have stayed in Corporate America…who says America isn’t a socialist country?