Sunday, August 22, 2004

Some Appreciated Validation of My News Hunches

I had the most fascinating conversation at a party last night with a colleague who's in town, on vacation from her stint as a New York Times reporter.
We spoke at length about issues I've been Blogging about, and she held my rapt attention expressing her bird's eye view of some of those issues. I was quite humbled by her expertise, yet gratified to learn most of my journalistic political hunches have been on target.

• As a reporter living in Manhattan, she said the anger among typical, rank and file New Yorkers is palpable toward the Bush administration. She believes the GOP's efforts to stymie protesters at the upcoming Republican National Convention will result in civil unrest that will make the 1968 riots during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago seem as tame as a petting zoo.
As I suspected, most New Yorkers are still shaken by 9/11 and they highly resent the GOP for subjecting them to more terrorist threats by holding their convention there. They see it as I see it- politicizing a tragedy in an effort to pander for votes, regardless of the peril to which it may subject still-traumatized New Yorkers.
She theorized that, thanks to Bush Rottweiler Karen Hughes' return, the GOP will blame the protests on behind-the-scenes Democrats, orchestrating shameful displays of disrespect toward a sitting president, rather than admitting any culpability for the people's unrest.
• She spoke of a team of reporters at the New York Times who have been sequestered away, busily investigating several different aspects of the Bush administration that could result in the outing of some Bush administration scandals that are far worse than Nixon's Watergate.
She's heard that Halliburton and Cheney's ties to illegal contracts in Iraq are leading the race for the scandal most likely to be revealed first. Finding a direct link has been mercurial, but the noose is said to be getting tighter.
• She spoke of a field trip she took to the NY Times Washington Bureau, where colleagues at the Washington Post treated Times Reporters to a viewing of unpublished photos of the Abu Ghraib prison torture. She assured me the photos the public saw were minor compared to the carnage and perversion she viewed in the Post's photo collection of the atrocities. She said they had literally thousands of photos, in varying degrees of atrociousness.
• When I asked her how hard it was to maintain fair and balanced reporting with regard to what we agreed was a contemptible incumbent administration, she said something our professors drilled into our heads in college, that I was pleased to see she still applied to her job.
She said, "Reporters show their true skills and abilities when they can report on even blatant malfeasance, without leaving the reader with a hint of their opinion on the matter."

And that, my dears, is why it's a lot more fun to Blog the news than report it.

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