An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Bob Woodward's fall

All the President's Men was one of the major books and movies of my childhood. I am old enough to have experienced Watergate as it happened. The recent revelations about Mark Felt as Deep throat revealed even more importance to Woodward and Bernstein's heroic work. But heros fall.

In an editorial in Joe Conason, Woodward's Disgrace (subcription required), outlines the particulars of Woodward's role in the Valerie Plame case. Both his withholding of information from his editors, as well as his misleading comments, have entered the public record. And the Washington Post's readers have also caught out the once great Woodward in his lies. The established timeline does not support Woodward's explanations of his role in the outing of a covert CIA operative. You can read the transcript of the live chat that Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. held with readers on Friday Nov. 18 (2005): Transcript of live chat with Downie regarding Woodward (has links to earlier stories by and about Woodward's role in the Plame case).

I feel no need for further words here. You can read the public record, Woodwards own admissions and Downie's failed defense of the once great reporter for youself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bill O'Reilly Offers to Publicize Liberal Blogs

I hope to make the list!

Right-wing pundit Bill O'Reilly has recently promised to add a list of liberal blogs who quote him verbatim on his own web site. I hope 2+2=4 makes this most exclusive list. All I have to do is quote Mr. O'Reilly's comments verbatim as follows:

After the November 8th California Election O'Reilly made the following statement on his show concerning San Francisco's ballot initiative to ban military recruiters from public high schools:

"Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

Mr. O'Reilly kindly made his promise to publicize bloggers such as myself with the following comment concerning those who post his words above:

"Some far left internet smear sites have launched a campaign to get me fired over my point of view. I believe they do this on a daily basis. This time the theme is O’Reilly is encouraging terrorist attacks. Unbelievably stupid. Not unusual with these guttersnipes.

I’m glad the smear sites made a big deal out of it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd. We’ll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on So check with us."

My understanding remains a bit unclear about how quoting Mr. O'Reilly verbatim when he invited Al Queda to blow up Coit Tower constitutes a smear. Maybe "You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead," means something else outside of San Francisco? Mr. O'Reilly is, of course, welcome to his point of view and has (and should have) the freedom to express it. I am simply wondering how quoting his own words smears him. In addition, I wonder why he assumes that anyone who quotes him voted for the ballot initiative in question.

I am also a bit puzzled by the use of the word "guttersnipes." This was an insulting term from the early 20th century for poor street children. According to my mother's account of an ugly divorce between my grandparents, my grandfather once called my grandmother a "Hoboken guttersnipe." This was a very serious insult and sadly one with a grain of truth when said to a person who started life as a poor German immigrant. But I wonder how quoting Mr. O'Reilly verbatim makes me resemble, in any way, a poor child running around on the street making trouble? Maybe words have different meanings when Bill O'Reilly says them, which would explain a lot.

The first quote you can read and also view a movie of O'Reilly actually saying the words (quite thrilling) at Media Matters

The second quote comes with video as well from Crooks and Liars

No one has seen any list of liberal blogs on O'Reilly's web site yet, but I remain hopeful that I will make the list. I am going to e-mail him with a link to this blog now. Wish me luck.