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Archives: August 2005 Does Online Stuff

Two items worthy of note from today:

  • The site announced today a partnership with the Technorati, one of the web’s leading blog search enginges, to let site readers see the reaction to Washington Post articles across the blogosphere. The service, a press release explained today, will search millions of blogs for postings and feature links to the most blogged about articles and the liveliest web discussions on Post content.

    “This partnership with Technorati lets the users in on that conversation by delivering the most interesting and lively discussions about content from some of the best and most popular blogs on the web,” exec editor Jim Brady said.

  • Also today, the Post internally announced the hiring of Chris Cillizza to run a politics blog that will compete with ABC’s Note and National Journal’s Hotline. “Chris will work from both our newsroom and The Washington Post, and the plan is to create a feature that no political professional, politics junkie or average Post/ reader can live without,”’s Russ Walker told the staff today. “We’re still thinking through the blog specifics, so stay tuned. One thing we need is a name for it. If you’ve got an idea and we ultimately pick it, I’ll buy you a six-pack of your favorite beverage (sorry, no iPod handouts).”

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Hurricane Relief

Cousin TVNewser is first with news that NBC is organizing a hurricane relief concert for Friday…

Ratings Wars: August

We try, for the most part, to stay away from ratings here. They’re often more trouble than they’re worth since there’s a spin, counterspin, and the counter-counterspin before inevitably someone (ahem, cough, Fox, cough) starts calling names.

Nevertheless the last week of the month always brings out the numbers, and it’s hard to not be impressed at some of them. While the other cablers saw their numbers decline from the convention-heavy August of 2004, Fox posted some impressive gains.

Meanwhile, the first (almost) month of “The Situation Room” saw an average of about 466,000 viewers–certainly far from MSNBC or CNBC territory, but still down 14% from August 2004.

MSNBC managed to only get one show in the top 25, with Rita Cosby sneaking in at #24.

The Binn Baby

stork.gifWord from New York today that Jason Binn, the publishing magnate behind the forthcoming Capitol File, is now Daddy Binn. Penny Olivia Binn was born yesterday at 1 p.m. She weighs 6 pounds 9 ounces.

Now that he’s a father, does that mean we have to stop calling him a “playboy”?

Summer We Hardly Knew Ye

Cinnabon.gifIt’s the last day of August and the President is due back in town today, which means that in more ways than one, summer is over in Washington. Now if only the humidity will drop.

The end of summer, of course, means that real news will begin to trickle out of this city again instead of the drivel that has filled the wagging-tongue class for the last month. Some things you won’t be hearing this time next week:

Exhibit A — This actually made John McCaslin‘s gossip column today: “The person who penned the official White House pool report of President Bush’s Air Force One flight to California this week was certainly impressed with the onboard breakfast: ‘Egg quiche and bacon, fresh fruit slices and the biggest cinnamon bun you ever saw, even bigger than the ones you can buy in the mall.’”

Exhibit B — The Post published a lengthy op-ed yesterday decrying Powerpoint.

> If you’re interested in Real News, of course, stay tuned to cousin TVNewser, who is following Hurricane Katrina coverage closely.

Karl as Mugatu

mogatu.gifApparently Karl Rove is not only the puppeteer of White House policy but now wants to give Robin Givhan a run for her money as Washington’s fashion critic.

In yesterday’s pool report, The Post’s Peter Baker notes, “Karl Rove was with POTUS and evidently unimpressed with your pooler’s wardrobe, obtained at the all-night Wal-Mart in Waco last night thanks to American Airlines’ impeccable talent for losing luggage. ‘Wear a tie or at least a coat!’ the deputy chief of staff admonished from his van as the pool ran by. No time to ask if he had an extra to spare.”

The pooler’s get-up, including a “White button-down shirt, blue jeans, incredibly uncomfortable black shoes that some people seem to think look too much like boots” didn’t qualify as suitable attire.

Note to pool reporters: we didn’t understand how this “look” didn’t meet Mr. Rove’s standards, as it came directly from his “Derelicte”-line!

And Karl, while we, like Reuters, all support outsourcing for cheap labor in your new fashion line, please don’t involve the Malaysian Prime Minister.

A New Look at an Old Story

In a commentary today, the Financial Times takes a different look at Plamegate by pointing the finger away from Karl Rove and toward Judith Miller.

The Times theorizes, based on a story “circulating inside the Justice Department,” that Rove’s motivation of revenge is too obvious (we, too, would like to believe “Bush’s Brain” is smarter than this). FT instead poses a connect-the-dots theory based on Miller and Plame’s backgrounds.

Miller is not a political reporter, but an investigative journalist and co-author of “Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War.” Similarly, Plame is a CIA operative specializing in WMDs and bio-terror.

So, did Miller get to know Plame while she was writing her book or even use her as a source for other WMD stories?

Despite languishing in prison for 56 days, Miller still isn’t revealing her source.

Reporters Report, Right?

As an amusing little aside to their recent spate of departures (and new hire), Roll Call’s Publisher Laurie Battaglia-Skinker has had it up to *here* with leaks from her publication to a certain D.C. media gossip blog.

As such, she sent a multi-page memo–hand-delivered in hard copy form to the mailboxes of staffers last week to limit the chance of email forwardability–by way of grumping about the recent leaks and reminding staff about appropriate use of company resources, and has been reminding staff of their at-will employment status. That’s certainly one way to buck up morale in the morale-challenged newsroom.

One would think that she’d be proud that she headed up a newspaper whose reporters do exactly what they’re trained to do: Identify and gather news and then disseminate it. It’s not the staff’s fault, after all, reporting is in their blood.

Those Visionary Neocons

weeklystandardbook.jpgPeter Carlson takes at look at “America’s funniest right-wing magazine,” the Weekly Standard, as it prepares for its ten-year anniversary next month.

The “Rupert Murdoch-owned, right-wing, warmongering magazine” (if you’re not a frequent reader, think Fox News in print…and without the blondes) has offered some visionary essays. Many of the essays have been collected in the magazine’s new book, a 560-page behemoth “reader” spanning the years since the 1995 debut.

The most notable comes from the magazine’s founder, Bill Kristol, in a November 1997 piece “Saddam Must Go,” outlining an invasion of Iraq, conquering of Baghdad, and overthrow of Saddam for expelling weapons inspectors. Good thing we didn’t act on this…that could have turned ugly.

The magazine also looks at more hard-hitting issues such as:

  • “Pro Wrestling and the End of History”–profiling a “sport” that allows much of America “to cope with the emotional letdown that followed upon the triumph of capitalism and liberal democracy.”

  • “The New Phys Ed and the Wussification of America”–where Matt Labash leaves his newsroom (a visionary idea in-and-of itself) to explore politically-correct gym classes.
  • “Welcome to Canada: The Great White Waste of Time”–a synopsis of our northern neighbor and its inability to establish a legitimate place in world politics.

Ten years later, just another part of Mr. Murdoch’s ever-expanding media empire: taking over the world one war at a time.

CNN’s Meserve Delivers ‘Heart-wrenching’ Report

jeannemeserve3.jpgCousin TVNewser reports on the devastation facing the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina and a heart-breaking report last night on Newsnight with Aaron Brown by Jeanne Meserve, one of CNN’s top reporters and a member of the elite America Bureau.

“Meserve audibly broke into tears in a several minutes-long telephone report with Aaron Brown in NewsNight’s second hour,” another e-mailer explains. “As she slowly and soberly spoke of victims with severed legs, live dogs electrocuting in power lines, people crying for help outside of the reach of rescue boats, and bodies floating in New Orleans, the show became quieter and quieter, until Meserve finally wept. It was devastating to hear,” a viewer wrote.

> UPDATE: TVNewswer has the audio.