Hey, Gordon… tell this guy about me

Just got an e-mail from a puzzled reader, as follows:

    We get the concept that editorials are
supposed to be opinionated and stir comment, but just what media are you a
    Three weeks ago you excoriated ‘the media’ while conveniently
ignoring the reality that you’re kinda the media, too.
    Today (Wednesday
12/19/2007) you assail
‘TV "news" channels’ and denigrate reporting on John
McCain as ‘a conspiracy on the part of major media and poll respondents.’   ‘A
conspiracy’??  Good grief, is it that easy to dismiss the possibility that
voters could actually be concerned about McCain’s age, health, and core
commitment to his party’s concerns? 
    I’ve seen the gamut on blaming the
media, but can’t remember it ever being from someone whose name is on the
masthead of a statewide paper. 

James Hill

James, I’m a contrarian who is just barely tolerated by his colleagues on account of … well, I don’t know why. Ask Gordon — he used to be my boss, in a previous life.

Anyway, you should congratulate me. Not many paranoids can concoct a conspiracy that involves everyone who responds to polls. You gotta hand it to me — that’s inspired.

8 thoughts on “Hey, Gordon… tell this guy about me

  1. Gordon Hirsch

    James … not sure where to start, but yes, Brad used to work with me back in his newsroom days. That, of course, implies that he is not in the newsroom anymore, doesn’t belong there, and probably is ignored (or worse) by those folks when he ventures downstairs.
    Brad always dreamed of the job he’s in now, and I don’t remember anyone ever suggesting he belonged anywhere else – except perhaps on the Government Desk, where he came from, and exhibited the stamina of a gerbil on speed.
    So now he’s got this lofty job where (A) he’s supposed to make sense and be responsible, at least when he’s writing Editorials; (B) he can ponder the imponderable with Op-Ed thumb-suckers on any subject of his choosing; and (C) he can blog us blind with everything that flits through his consciousness, which is like a river at flood-stage, 24/7.
    Add to that an insatiable thirst for all things political, unlimited access to the wire services, not enough time to think things through, multiple outlets for self-expression, the zealous commitment of a convert, a Southern perspective, politically correct peers, an obscure sense of humor, hypersensitive readers, no cable TV, a purposeful disdain for sports enthusiasts, and a tendency to forget his ADD meds, and there’s Brad.
    Oh, yeah. On a more serious note, he’s also a great father and husband, a courageous Catholic, community-minded, can survive on a newspaper salary, and has an unshakeable belief that what he does makes a difference — if only because he makes us think.
    So feel free to prod, provoke, and make fun. He likes that best.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Thanks, Gordon. That may be the best evaluation I ever got. Certainly it was complimentary, and I’m humbled by that, but more to the point, I think it was the most frank and incisive. I’ve received positive reviews before (I once had a publisher who kept telling me, "You’re a superstar around here," which was great, but not all that informative.) You put what virtues I might have within the context of my failings and compulsions, with a good sense of how the good, bad and even weird qualities play off against each other.

    I’ve never been a great fan of the formal evaluation, anyway, but maybe this offers hope for how they should be handled — blog-style.

    Having read this comment earlier in the day, I was thinking of it a little while ago when I had the honor of being visited by Ted Sorensen, who was here in connection with his support of Barack Obama. (For you younger folk and the history-deprived, Mr. Sorensen was John F. Kennedy’s speechwriter and closest adviser.) I kept thinking during that interview — a really stimulating interlude in a mind-numbing rush to crank out pages ahead of the holidays with a short staff — that THIS is why I do this job. Fascinating people come to see you, and sit down, and talk, and you can ask them any question you want.

    OK, here I go riffing… Talking to Sorensen, I felt at times sort of like Chris Farley’s talk show character on SNL ("That was AWEsome!") — flustered, overawed and unworthy. A couple of times I was tempted to slap myself on the head, tear my hair and castigate myself as "stupid! stupid!" But other than that it went great. I’ll post about it soon…

  3. Karen McLeod

    That’s an interview I’d like to hear. What is it that makes him interested in Obama? How did he feel about being JFK’s speech writer? Did JFK go up on his lines much? Muff them? Demand rewrite? JFK was shot my senior year in high school. He was my first real interest in politics (after watching the debates, and hearing Nixon’s “Checkers” speech I thoroughly disliked Nixon). I’d like to know these answers.

  4. Karen McLeod

    Sorry, Brad. Did not mean ‘clients’ in previous post. Meant “other candidates.” Work went on too long today.

  5. Brad Warthen

    It was definitely awesome. I’ll try to post some of it before I leave tonight, but it will probably be this weekend before I can go back and review what I have and post more in-depth. Here’s a bonus, though: Andy Haworth from thestate.com shot the whole interview on video (as opposed to the short clips I shoot). I don’t know when he’s planning to post, or how much of it he’ll use, but I’ll draw attention to it when he does.

    FYI, Karen, you should go back and check out the thread on this post.

    Bob Coble is addressing you by name, and wants you to contact him.

  6. Cindi Scoppe

    Hey Gordon
    That was the funniest thing I’ve read all morning (yes, I know, it’s early — at least by the standards of Brad, who hasn’t made it to work yet). You nailed it.
    Glad to see you’ve joined the blog discussion. It’s good to hear from you.

  7. Brad Warthen

    Someone is in a big hurry to leave early today and drive up to North Carolina (which I endorse, and will help her to achieve). Someone else (a.k.a. moi, a.k.a. yo, a.k.a. Ich, a.k.a. yours truly) was here until nearly 10 last night, has an equally long day ahead of him, but is not complaining about it one bit, nosirree Bob.

  8. Gordon Hirsch

    Hey Cindi … Maybe you can use some of this when Brad does YOUR review!
    Good to hear from you, and Merry Christmas.

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