A Tick on the Bill Keller Hide

Editor of the New York Times Bill Keller writes “All the Aggregation That’s Fit to Aggregate” for today’s Sunday magazine.  In his screed, Keller picks a fight with Arianna Huffington, whom he calls “the queen of aggregation.”  Both Bill Keller’s piece and Arianna Huffington’s  eviscerating riposte have already been much commented upon.  Here is my take, in which I presume to edit Editor Keller (his piece in much need of it).

Hey Bill Keller, the New York Times is feeling the pinch—aren’t we all?—but surely your very own Check’n Go Carlos Slim pays for editors?  Still? (more…)

Donilon Explains Obama: 6 Quick Points

President Obama’s press conference on Libya today demonstrates the aptness of this editorial comment in the Wall Street Journal yesterday:  “America’s response to the Libyan crisis is stuck in repeat mode.

Two months into the Arab Spring, any of us who have by now heard it many times can smoothly spin from our mouths the Obama administration spiel on our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. (more…)

Hillary Clinton & Al Jazeera: Context

Why does American media react to events just as reductively as the general public? I don’t understand this.  Shouldn’t it be our job to provide context and nuance in the face of knee-jerk reaction?

Last week, however, pundits from Daily Kos to Taylor Marsh to Jay Rosen reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Al Jazeera and criticized American news outlets like CNN. (more…)

Al Jazeera Spring in America

In Amman for an International Women’s Forum conference, I discovered Arab TV.  This was the spring of 2007, and the Iraq War was going strong fifty miles away.  The tiny Hashemite kingdom of Jordan had taken in more than half a million Iraqi refugees, many of them Arab Christians.  The Amman Hyatt, where I was staying, had been badly damaged (and several people killed) by a suicide bomber two years before; by the time of my visit, the hotel bristled with security guards carrying automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

The large flat screen TV on the Hyatt club floor, as in such concierge lounges everywhere, played 24/7.  The Amman Hyatt had chosen CNN International.  Every breakfast and cocktail hour for a week we travelers—Japanese and Arab businessmen and women leaders from Mexico and Argentina and Russia and Ireland and the UAE—were treated to the latest update on the rehab of Britney Spears, over and over and over again. (more…)

Reporter Walks into A Bar

Tuesday talking to Gawker’s Ryan Tate (he’s been interviewing me for a book), I got to thinking about the karma of journalists and bars.  Over time, I’ve declared everything that happens within the environs of a pub, saloon, tavern, taproom, watering hole, lounge, bistro or bar stool off-limits for reporting.

I know how and why I came to this decision.  What I can’t decide: is it a good decision?  Or am I drawing a line in the sand arbitrarily—and being a bit of a wuss to boot? (more…)

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