Sarah Palin hates even the conservative media

If you’re Sarah Palin, even Tucker Carlson’s conservative Daily Caller is part of the “lamestream media.” Conservative pundits, growing increasingly disenchanted with Palin, were blasting her for the fact that the producers of her reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” took advantage of a very generous subsidy offered by the state of Alaska thanks to a bill signed a few years back by then-Gov. Sarah Palin. A Daily Caller reporter was doing a story on the criticism and asked Palin for a comment. The only way Palin would agree to answer questions (again, from a very conservative media source) was if the reporter would agree to reprint her full, 646-word statement with the piece.

The reporter dutifully did this on the second page of the story, after quoting extensively from the statement in the body of the article.

That wasn’t good enough for Empress Palin, who took to her favorite medium for unfiltered communication with her adoring fans, Facebook, with a blistering post criticizing the reporter for burying her statement on the second page after “spinning a situation to give the impression that Alaska’s film production tax credit legislation was somehow solely my idea hatched up to benefit the Palins years before I was ever involved in a documentary series on TLC/Discovery Channel.” By “spinning the situation,” Palin meant quoting conservative critics. She felt her entire lengthy statement should have been at the top of the article – which makes me wonder what kind of grades she got in journalism school.

Last week, Palin told Greta Van Susteren that she was “through whining about a liberal press that holds, especially conservative women, to a different standard.”

Apparently, however, she’s more than willing to continue to whine about the conservative press.



Too bad there isn’t a Pulitzer for want ads

By way of Facebook, Mother Jones and Glen McGregor, the most audacious want-ad for an investigative journalist ever. I don’t know if I’m proudest of the fact that I once worked for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the source of the ad, or that I know at least three reporters who fit the description exactly.

We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.

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The New York Times tries another pay wall

By some measures, newspapers are more popular than ever. Declining circulation numbers for the paper product are more than compensated for by rising online visitors. The long-term problem is that online advertising is a far smaller source of revenue than print advertising, which makes it hard to pay for the journalism that attracts readers.

The New York Times has made a couple of attempts at charging for content, most notably the failed TimesSelect experiment that locked their highly regarded columnists behind a paywall. All that managed to accomplish was to remove those columnists from the online conversation. While anyone could link to a Paul Krugman column, a reader would have to sign up for TimesSelect ($7.95 a month, or $50 for a year) to follow the link. That lasted two years, which was longer than many thought.

The Times is trying again, and this time they may have a more viable model. The key is this: Casual readers will be able to click on stories for free. But usage will be metered, and if you read more than 20 articles a month, The Times will ask you to start paying. The rates aren’t bad: $15 for four weeks’ access to and a smartphone app, $20 for and a tablet app and $35 for full access from any digital appliance. The yearly fees add up: $195/$260/$455 respectively for the various options. There’s no indication yet of a discount for a yearly subscription, but I’d be surprised if that wasn’t coming.

Lots of newspapers will be watching to see how this works. The honchos at The Times – and some others – think the time is right. The proliferation of iOS apps has gotten people somewhat acclimated to the idea of paying for content. The 20 articles a month for free also addresses the issue of casual readers and locking important content out of the blogosphere.

Good journalism can’t be free. If ads won’t pay for it, readers will have to – at least if they discover they actually value it.

What’s the big emergency?

Pop quiz:

House Republicans convened an urgent emergency session to deal with a pressing national issue today. The legislation before them required such immediate attention that they ignored House Speaker John Boehner’s pledge to put every bill online for at least 72 hours before it is voted upon. That urgent national matter was:

A) A resolution urging President Obama to take swift action in Libya to protect civilians from a dictator’s murderous rampage.
B) Legislation requiring the immediate inspection of every nuclear reactor in the nation to determine if they would be safe in the case of extreme disaster.
C) An emergency stimulus bill to help the fledgling economy rise above the dampening effect of rising energy prices.
D) Emergency legislation providing immediate assistance to Japan.
E) A measure to strip NPR of all federal funding.

If you answered A, B, C or D, you don’t know congressional Republicans very well.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., called it about right: “What a relief. I’m glad we got the economy back going. I’m so glad we secured our nuclear power plants. So glad Americans are going back to work. We discovered a target we can all agree on…it’s Click And Clack.”

But the theater of the absurd became even more absurd when Weiner pressed Republicans on the 72-hour rule: “This bill did not lay over for 72 hours. It was noticed at 1:42 p.m. on Tuesday. Therefore it has to wait until 1:42 on Friday to be in compliance with the rules of the House.” The answer from Republicans? When John Boehner said 72 hours, he really meant three calendar days. The bill was made available online Tuesday, so three calendar days later would be Thursday. Voila! When Weiner pressed further, asking for a yes-or-no answer to whether the bill had been available for 72 hours, acting speaker Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas said, “The chair will not respond to a hypothetical question.”

Apparently, the chair doesn’t understand the meaning of “hypothetical question.”

Faux News living up to its name

The mythical advice given raw reporters by their grizzled editors is this: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Fox News should take that advice to heart. The right-wing network tends to get taken in by pranks that fit its preconceived notions. Government senselessly spends money, so who would doubt that Los Angeles might spend more than $1 million on jetpacks for police and firefighters? Not Fox News. Global warming “alarmists” do strange things, so no need to fact-check a claim that one of them froze to death while trying to film the Antarctic’s melting ice sheets. Muslims have strange notions about sexuality, so why double-check a story claiming that Pakistani clerics are denouncing padded bras as “devil’s cushions.” Not Fox. After all, you get a bonus for a story you can illustrate with a picture of a woman in a bra (I will refrain, even though this is a new blog trying to attract visitors).

The next time you’re tempted to take Fox News seriously, just remember, the journalists there thought this was a genuine quote:

“Padded bras are evil as they make the breasts look bigger and perky”, said one of the protesters. “Only devil women show off private parts. Muslim women should be as humble about them as they can. In fact they should be ashamed of their breasts, both of them.”

And this was a genuine photograph:

Crazy or shrewd?

The few times I’ve watched his show, heard him on the radio or seen clips of him online, the question that I always ask myself when I’m exposed to Glenn Beck is this: Is he certifiably insane or is he playing a role that he knows will make him rich?

I go back and forth on the question. Watch this clip, starting about a minute in, and the vote is clear: The man is a raving lunatic. The bit “works” because you have wonder if he isn’t actually crazy enough to pour gas on someone and then light them on fire.

But then I see all the books he’s publishing, all of which seem to sell pretty well to his large, though shrinking audience, and I hear the ads on his show for buying gold and stocking up on end-day supplies, and I think he’s crazy like a fox. He’s cashing in as quick as he can while he can, cynically manipulating his gullible, conspiracy-loving audience, playing them like a fiddle while he empties their wallets.

I guess, unless he actually ever lights someone on fire during a broadcast or something else equally insane, we’ll never know which is the real Glenn Beck. And with Fox News allegedly growing weary of his ever-expanding paranoia (liberals collaborating with radical Islamists? Give me a break) and thinking about dumping him when his contract’s up in December, he may never get the opportunity to do something truly nuts on national tv. Still, if I had to bet, I’d bet he’s cackling madly all the way to the bank.