Whoa. Benjamin Hart hates Twitter cliches — Twitter has become full of overused and cliched phrases, and Benjamin Hart is sick of it. The HuffPost front page editor wrote a must-read for The Awl in which he unloads his hate toward the “dulling sameness of phraseology” running rampant on Twitter, with the phrase “not the Onion” seemingly sparking the rant. Hart says exaggeration and dull, overused catch phrases are the two types of cliches “currently poisoning our Twitter discourse.” He uses examples like starting a tweet with “whoa” or ‘must-read,” or using phrases like “well-played, sir,” “that thing where,” “I see what you did there” or the new trend of using the phrase “in which” to lead off a tweet. Nothing, Hart argues, is a “must read,” the Anchorman movie that spawned “stay classy” is old and “I see what you did there” has been around for far too long. What this flood of repetitive phrasing is inevitably about, Hart says, is comedy. And twitter has become a massive stage for improv, where “everyone has to prove their joke bona fides, even if there’s nothing particularly funny to say.”
Obama surprises reporters in off-the-record meeting — When a select group of reporters were invited to a private meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Monday, they knew that the meeting would be off the record. What they didn’t know, as BuzzFeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro reports, was that President Obama would be making a surprise appearance. About two dozen reporters were invited to the meeting, including those from the NY Times, WaPo, HuffPost, Time, Politico, McClatchy, Tribune, NPR, Bloomberg, USA Today, AFP and Yahoo! News, among others, where the president unexpectedly entered to address them, off the record of course. NYT’s Peter Baker, who attended, said he and his editors would have reconsidered if they had known the President would be present. Baker said the NY Times is concerned about off-the-record sessions with the President because they want to make sure “that they not become substitutes for opportunities to ask questions and get answers on the record, which after all is our job.” Though not expected, Baker did say the meeting was valuable.
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Journalists lashing out at NSA leaker — Since the news broke Sunday that the leaker of the NSA secret surveillance programs was 29-year-old high school drop-out Edward Snowden, the media has called him both a hero and a traitor. Reason’s Matt Welch outlines some of the media who have criticized Snowden’s actions. “It’s always instructive to see who quickly takes the government’s side in a dispute with a whistleblower,” writes Welch at the beginning of his essay. The list includes Politico’s Roger Simon (whose piece on Snowden was featured in yesterday’s reading list), WaPo columnists Richard Cohen and Marc Thiessen, Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker and CNN and Ralph Peters of Fox News and the New York Post. As Editor-in-Chief of Reason, Welch said he, not surprisingly, is “grateful that Edward Snowden leaked” and argued for more internal oversight in intelligence programs.