News Cycle

A look at the news, politics and journalism in today’s 24-hour media.

Archive for September 2008

Gaffe Roundup: Hasting Apologizes; Biden Shot at in Iraq?

leave a comment »


In what is becoming a familiar scene on the campaign trail, politicians started to backtrack on statements they made that seem either ludicrous or were down-right insulting.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) made a hasty retreat from his statement last week in which he told a group of Jewish and African-American Democrats in Florida that they should be wary of Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.” He also said, “If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention.”

Hastings released a statement yesterday apologizing for the remark. “I regret the comments I made last Tuesday that were not smart and certainly not relevant to hunters or sportsmen,” Hastings said. “The point I made, and will continue to make, is that the policies and priorities of a McCain-Palin administration would be anathema to most African-Americans and Jews. I regret that I was not clearer and apologize to Governor Palin, my host where I was speaking, and those who my comments may have offended.”

Over in Sen. Joe Biden’s corner, there has been some chatter on the internet today concerning his claim that he was shot at once in Iraq, and the circumstances concerning his helicopter being forced down in Afghanistan.

The Hill had this account last month:

“Let’s start telling the truth,” he said. “Number one, you take all the troops out — you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die, number one.”

When asked for a detailed account of the experience, Biden described three incidents on two separate Iraq trips in which he felt that he was shot at or might have been shot at. Only one of them took place inside the Green Zone, he said, and involved a “shot” landing outside the building where he and other senators were staying. He added that the vehicle he was traveling in the day before might also have been hit.

Biden said the incident happened in the morning while he and at least one other senator were shaving. Although he said it shook the building, he wasn’t rattled enough to duck and cover.

“No one got up and ran from the room — it wasn’t that kind of thing,” he said. “It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head.”

Thinking about it now, he said, a more accurate comment would have been: “I was near where a shot landed.”

FOX News says it has been pressing campaign officials for specifics on the Iraqi incident, but had not heard back from Biden spokesman David Wade.

At the same time, Biden has caused another stir about an incident that supposedly happen on a fact-finding mission in Afghanistan. Biden has said he will grill Palin during Thursday’s debate about “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down.”

“If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” Biden told the National Guard Association. “Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”

The problem is that apparently it was bad weather, not terrorists, that forced the chopper to land in an open field last February. Fighter jets kept watch overhead while a convoy of security vehicles was dispatched to retrieve Biden and Sens. Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.

“We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to,” joked Kerry to The Associated Press. “Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.”

For the record, Biden never explicitly claimed his chopper had been forced down by terrorists.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 2:11 pm

The Sun Sets for The New York Sun

leave a comment »


It’s always a sad day for all journalists when a newspaper folds into history. Today is the last day for the New York Sun, which is ceasing operations after six years because it could not find suitable financial backers. The Sun will pay its roughly 110 employees through November, and their health insurance would continue through Dec. 31.

Sun editor Seth Lipsky made these to the newspaper’s staff:

It is my duty to report today that Ira Stoll and I and our partners have concluded that the Sun will cease publication. Our last number will be the issue dated September 30, the first day of Rosh Hashanah. I want you to know that Ira and I, and our partners, explored every possible way to avoid having to cease publication.

We have spoken with every individual who seemed to be a prospective partner, and everywhere we were received with courtesy and respect. I tend to be an optimist and held out hope for a favorable outcome as late as mid-afternoon today. But among other problems that we faced was the fact that this month, not to mention this week, has been one of the worst in a century in which to be trying to raise capital, and in the end we were out not only of money but time.

So we are at this sad moment. It is sad for any newspaper to go out of publication, and it is particularly sad for one that is as loved as much as all of us here love The New York Sun and the readers we have won in our six-and-a-half years of publication. But I want you to know that the decision to close the paper has not been an acrimonious one. It is a logical decision following a hard-headed assessment of our chances of meeting our goal of profitable publication in the near future.

This was always a risk, and all the greater is the heroism of our financial backers. Even at the end they were offering millions of dollars if we could find the partners we needed. I don’t mind saying to you, as I have to them, that I very much regret — I will always regret — that we were not able to return to them the capital that they invested in us. Yet we have not heard a single regret from any of them on this head, which underscores the fact that it was not only for the possibility of profit that they invested in this newspaper. They invested also for other ideals, as well.

They invested in the ideal of the scoop, the notion that news is the spirit of democracy, and in the principles for which we have stood in our editorial pages — limited and honest government, equality under our Constitution and the law, free markets, sound money, and a strong foreign policy in support of freedom and democracy. They liked the way the Sun reflected the dynamism of our city and spoke for its interests in the national debate.

They invested, too, in the joy with which you illuminated the cultural life of New York, in our willingness to spring to the defense of so many who are not always defended, in the thrill of our sports coverage, the verve and warmth of our society coverage, and in our efforts to bring together a community and give it voice.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 11:38 am

Posted in New York Sun

The Sun Sets for The New York Sun

leave a comment »


It’s always a sad day for all journalists when a newspaper folds into history. Today is the last day for the New York Sun, which is ceasing operations after six years because it could not find suitable financial backers. The Sun will pay its roughly 110 employees through November, and their health insurance would continue through Dec. 31.

Sun editor Seth Lipsky made these to the newspaper’s staff:

It is my duty to report today that Ira Stoll and I and our partners have concluded that the Sun will cease publication. Our last number will be the issue dated September 30, the first day of Rosh Hashanah. I want you to know that Ira and I, and our partners, explored every possible way to avoid having to cease publication.

We have spoken with every individual who seemed to be a prospective partner, and everywhere we were received with courtesy and respect. I tend to be an optimist and held out hope for a favorable outcome as late as mid-afternoon today. But among other problems that we faced was the fact that this month, not to mention this week, has been one of the worst in a century in which to be trying to raise capital, and in the end we were out not only of money but time.

So we are at this sad moment. It is sad for any newspaper to go out of publication, and it is particularly sad for one that is as loved as much as all of us here love The New York Sun and the readers we have won in our six-and-a-half years of publication. But I want you to know that the decision to close the paper has not been an acrimonious one. It is a logical decision following a hard-headed assessment of our chances of meeting our goal of profitable publication in the near future.

This was always a risk, and all the greater is the heroism of our financial backers. Even at the end they were offering millions of dollars if we could find the partners we needed. I don’t mind saying to you, as I have to them, that I very much regret — I will always regret — that we were not able to return to them the capital that they invested in us. Yet we have not heard a single regret from any of them on this head, which underscores the fact that it was not only for the possibility of profit that they invested in this newspaper. They invested also for other ideals, as well.

They invested in the ideal of the scoop, the notion that news is the spirit of democracy, and in the principles for which we have stood in our editorial pages — limited and honest government, equality under our Constitution and the law, free markets, sound money, and a strong foreign policy in support of freedom and democracy. They liked the way the Sun reflected the dynamism of our city and spoke for its interests in the national debate.

They invested, too, in the joy with which you illuminated the cultural life of New York, in our willingness to spring to the defense of so many who are not always defended, in the thrill of our sports coverage, the verve and warmth of our society coverage, and in our efforts to bring together a community and give it voice.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 11:38 am

Posted in New York Sun

GOP to Let Palin be Palin and Unleash Her to Media

leave a comment »


Apparently I have more pull on the Internet than I thought …

Johnathan Martin of Politico wrote in his blog late yesterday that the McCain campaign has read the reviews about Gov. Sarah Palin’s performances in the media interviews and are planning to unleash her to radio talk shows, and at the same time free her from the GOP talking points and let Sarah be Sarah.

Some excerpts from Martin’s report:

“She’s seen the reviews and heard the criticism, but she’s a fighter,” said this aide. “And now she’s in a fighting mood.”

Palin heads to McCain’s cabin in Arizona today to prepare for her Thursday debate, and while she’s there she’ll do a round of conservative talk radio interviews.

“Talk radio is a convenient, powerful and effective outlet,” said the aide.

Rush Limbaugh, who hosts the most popular radio show in the country, noted in an e-mail that he doesn’t invite guests on and alluded to his rocky relationship with the top of the GOP ticket.

“The McCain camp doesn’t trust me,” Limbaugh said.

But asked if he’d welcome a call from Palin, the conservative talker said: “Of course.”

The move to reintroduce Palin comes after much criticism for a stumbling interview she gave to CBS’ Katie Couric last week; increased conservative grousing about the campaign’s decision to roll out the GOP vice presidential nominee through high-stakes and high-profile mainstream media interviews; and the suggestion by some observers that she even drop off the ticket.

Quite the contrary, Palin, her family and aides are determined to remind voters what they so liked about the governor in the first place.

After the debate and talk radio hits, the plan is to find a way to let Palin be Palin, moving her away from the pre-fab talking points and letting the down-home daughter of Wasilla be herself.

“She wants to tell her story more, and people around her do, too,” added the source. “This is a governor very much on her toes, very much fed up with inaccuracies and fictions about her own life and career.”

To this end, Palin was far more aggressive in another interview with Couric today, this aide said

Sitting with McCain for their first joint interview a week after the widely panned sit-down with Couric, Palin interjected when the CBS anchor brought up a report about the Wasilla Assembly of God, the governor’s childhood church and one she still attends at times, seeking to pray gays away from homosexuality.

“Sarah Barracuda showed up today,” the aide said, reprising the feisty former point guard’s high school basketball nickname and one that has been largely forgotten since her post-convention cosseting.

“We’re encouraging CBS to run entire thing,” the aide said of today’s session. “Run it end to end online.”

Last week I wrote this after the first Katie Couric interview:

What the McCain campaign should do is to give her the best pre-debate education of the issues it can. Get her up to speed on foreign affairs and domestic problems. But don’t craft the answers for her. Let her develop what she is going to say in her own voice. In other words, on Oct. 2, let her be Sarah Palin.

If she’s going to be criticized for her answers (she will, MSNBC and others will dissect them syllable by syllable) she might as well give her own thoughts, and not the spin of the campaign. The McCain campaign should unleash her. She can handle Biden on her own. From what we have seen, when allowed to be herself, she can do quite well.

Now, seriously, I doubt John McCain’s campaign team is relying on my advice. But that posting has had the most unique viewers since I started this venture. About 13 percent of this blog’s total unique viewers saw that post. The second most viewed post was the video of Palin’s appearance at her former church in Wasilla, which 5 percent of News Cycle’s unique viewers saw.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 8:39 am

Posted in McCain, Palin, Politico

GOP to Let Palin be Palin and Unleash Her to Media

leave a comment »


Apparently I have more pull on the Internet than I thought …

Johnathan Martin of Politico wrote in his blog late yesterday that the McCain campaign has read the reviews about Gov. Sarah Palin’s performances in the media interviews and are planning to unleash her to radio talk shows, and at the same time free her from the GOP talking points and let Sarah be Sarah.

Some excerpts from Martin’s report:

“She’s seen the reviews and heard the criticism, but she’s a fighter,” said this aide. “And now she’s in a fighting mood.”

Palin heads to McCain’s cabin in Arizona today to prepare for her Thursday debate, and while she’s there she’ll do a round of conservative talk radio interviews.

“Talk radio is a convenient, powerful and effective outlet,” said the aide.

Rush Limbaugh, who hosts the most popular radio show in the country, noted in an e-mail that he doesn’t invite guests on and alluded to his rocky relationship with the top of the GOP ticket.

“The McCain camp doesn’t trust me,” Limbaugh said.

But asked if he’d welcome a call from Palin, the conservative talker said: “Of course.”

The move to reintroduce Palin comes after much criticism for a stumbling interview she gave to CBS’ Katie Couric last week; increased conservative grousing about the campaign’s decision to roll out the GOP vice presidential nominee through high-stakes and high-profile mainstream media interviews; and the suggestion by some observers that she even drop off the ticket.

Quite the contrary, Palin, her family and aides are determined to remind voters what they so liked about the governor in the first place.

After the debate and talk radio hits, the plan is to find a way to let Palin be Palin, moving her away from the pre-fab talking points and letting the down-home daughter of Wasilla be herself.

“She wants to tell her story more, and people around her do, too,” added the source. “This is a governor very much on her toes, very much fed up with inaccuracies and fictions about her own life and career.”

To this end, Palin was far more aggressive in another interview with Couric today, this aide said

Sitting with McCain for their first joint interview a week after the widely panned sit-down with Couric, Palin interjected when the CBS anchor brought up a report about the Wasilla Assembly of God, the governor’s childhood church and one she still attends at times, seeking to pray gays away from homosexuality.

“Sarah Barracuda showed up today,” the aide said, reprising the feisty former point guard’s high school basketball nickname and one that has been largely forgotten since her post-convention cosseting.

“We’re encouraging CBS to run entire thing,” the aide said of today’s session. “Run it end to end online.”

Last week I wrote this after the first Katie Couric interview:

What the McCain campaign should do is to give her the best pre-debate education of the issues it can. Get her up to speed on foreign affairs and domestic problems. But don’t craft the answers for her. Let her develop what she is going to say in her own voice. In other words, on Oct. 2, let her be Sarah Palin.

If she’s going to be criticized for her answers (she will, MSNBC and others will dissect them syllable by syllable) she might as well give her own thoughts, and not the spin of the campaign. The McCain campaign should unleash her. She can handle Biden on her own. From what we have seen, when allowed to be herself, she can do quite well.

Now, seriously, I doubt John McCain’s campaign team is relying on my advice. But that posting has had the most unique viewers since I started this venture. About 13 percent of this blog’s total unique viewers saw that post. The second most viewed post was the video of Palin’s appearance at her former church in Wasilla, which 5 percent of News Cycle’s unique viewers saw.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 8:39 am

Posted in McCain, Palin, Politico

Chris Matthews Ethics Breach: Interviews Daughter But Does Not Tell Viewers

leave a comment »


Chris Matthews apparently interviewed his daughter Caroline before the debates on “Hardball” but failed to tell his viewers of his relationship with her, FishbowlDC reported yesterday. This is a Journalism 101 breach of ethics.

One tipster told FishbowlDC that “Matthews, at the asking of his daughter, instructed the producers not to name her.”

The reason this is a breech of ethics is that Matthews has a conflict of interest. His daughter had a political point to make about an organization she is a member of. Its web site was promoted during the interview. The interview under normal circumstances, while quite soft and ordinary, would have been fine, but his viewers deserve to know that she was his daughter appearing on his show to promote her political point of view.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 8:19 am

Posted in Chris Matthews, Ethics

Chris Matthews Ethics Breach: Interviews Daughter But Does Not Tell Viewers

leave a comment »


Chris Matthews apparently interviewed his daughter Caroline before the debates on “Hardball” but failed to tell his viewers of his relationship with her, FishbowlDC reported yesterday. This is a Journalism 101 breach of ethics.

One tipster told FishbowlDC that “Matthews, at the asking of his daughter, instructed the producers not to name her.”

The reason this is a breech of ethics is that Matthews has a conflict of interest. His daughter had a political point to make about an organization she is a member of. Its web site was promoted during the interview. The interview under normal circumstances, while quite soft and ordinary, would have been fine, but his viewers deserve to know that she was his daughter appearing on his show to promote her political point of view.

Written by newscycle

September 30, 2008 at 8:19 am

Posted in Chris Matthews, Ethics

%d bloggers like this: