Scroll down through this post from last night, and you’ll find one of my e-mails about the Edwards column was from a J-school prof who used something from one of my anecdotes ("Strike Two: Jan. 23, 2004") as a sort of illustrative case study on his own blog.
I’m certainly flattered, as uncomfortable as I might be at being held up, for good or ill, as an object lesson for shaping young journalist-wannabes’ minds — particularly when we’re talking about Cindi Scoppe’s alma mater.
When I read Andy Bechtel‘s post this morning, I felt obliged to enlarge upon the lesson by adding some details missing from the column itself (because they were details that would only matter to a J-school prof).
If you’re interested in such academic matters, here’s the post and my comment is below it.
Anyway, as I was typing the comment, I remembered something that was in my desk drawer, and I dug it out — a snapshot, taken by the copy editor in question, on the way down in the elevator. That’s Dean, former editorial administrative assistant Sandra Brown, and me. I’m the tall one (I don’t get to say that all that often).
There’s absolutely no reason to be flattered given the Bechtel’s narrow, arcane point of interest.
On the other hand, there’s many reasons to feel embarrassed– most of which are covered by the post following your addendum on Bechtel’s blog.
Brad, you’ve really put The State on the blogospheric map. Too bad that your newspaper will be living down for years the impression that you hatchet job leaves.
“Hatchet job.” Wow. Here’s the way I see it. I mention Edwards in an offhand manner. A discussion develops on the blog. I mention that I think Edwards is a phony. The excitable types on the blog demand that I back that up. I say I will, but put it on a back burner, because it really doesn’t interest me all that much.
Then, when I finally write it — going much farther than most people would to be honest about just HOW I happened to develop a certain subjective impression — RTH calls it a “hatchet job.” Sheesh.
Tell you what — I got your “hatchet” right here, RTH…
Your column about John Edwards doesn’t tell us anything except that you dislike him, which to me is irrelevant.
Bechtel’s point IS interesting, actually. Not only J-school profs care about the line between opinion and news.
Brad Warthen’s opinion column have always seemed shallow and unsupported by any verifiable facts. Yet somehow he usually had some semblance of journalistic integrity. This hit piece on John Edwards is beneath even the very low standards of the National Enquirer.
Ready to Hurl is missing the point. You disliked Edwards and were trying to explain why you see him as an empty, preening suit (much like the assessment of his former boss, John Kerry, and about 90% of the country that is bothering to pay attention).
As Jesse Jackson would say, the question is moot. Edwards and his Hollywood hair will not be on the ticket and the Democrat who wins won’t return his phone calls because he brings nothing to the ticket – not even the much loved Carolinas.
Hmmm, Jack, I see what you mean…
If, say, Rudy Giuliani strikes me wrong– he’s a sleazy, fast-talking New Yorker, afterall– then I can stitch together a few personal vignettes and voila, judge him unfit to be the nominee.
Forget about any objective criteria. Ignore any policy proposals. Don’t even focus on his record in public office or the private sector. Heck, with Rudy I could even ignore his marital peccadilloes.
He’s a braggart and a grand-stander. He talks like a Yankee. He dresses like a Wall Street shyster.
Now, I get the idea. Columnists shouldn’t try to actually deal with substance, just personal prejudices instigated by a few “drive-by moments.”
It’s all clear now. Crystal clear.
I just wonder when Brad will apply the same standards to, say, Mitt Romney.
Or better yet, John McCain. It could go something like this:
How can we trust a man with our vital national security interests when he doesn’t even have the backbone to fight for the integrity of his family’s good name? McCain is concerned only with his own presidential ambitions to the point that he will embrace a man that berated his adopted children simply because of the color of their skin. This inexplicable embrace of someone who disgracefully used race bating to win a primary shows just how shallow and, yes, phony John McCain is.
See how easy this is. Just selectively choose an incident from long ago. Spin it to impune your target’s character. Appear on a few talk shows and voila you’ve planted the seeds of doubt into the voters’ heads.
The only problem is the Republicans are so much better at this than the Democrats. That is evidence in and of itself that the Republicans are the real phonies in the political world.
Hey, y’all, check it out: Mary Rosh had to get in on the action. So “she” pounced on poor Andy Bechtel’s blog, posing as the leader of the Donner Party (you may recall that more recently, she was using comic book aliases such as Luke Cage; no matter the name, what we all know is that “she” is too big a coward to stand behind “her” opinions).
Anyway, longtime denizens of this blog will see the rhetoric as inimitable:
Without anyone to check her, she just let herself loose and had a high old time. Probably did the old “girl” good. But you know, it never occurred to me to wonder before now … if I’m “an obscure failure,” what does that make our Mary, fulminating away in her anonymous garret?
By the way, I suspect she is still among us, but putting her snideness as sweetly as possible in an effort to pass muster. So sometimes I let this suspect character through, and other times unpublish her, because sometimes she just makes me tired.