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Monthly Archive

September 2004


With a bow to David Letterman, Campaign Desk offers our Top Ten list of topics we do not want to... More

Admitting the Problem Is Half the Battle

As we gear up for tonight's showdown in the Sunshine State, it's not hard to identify the prevailing conventional wisdom... More

Paralysis by Analysis

On the front page of today's New York Times, James Bennet, back at home after a distinguished stint as the... More

Nasty, Nasty, Nasty

The Washington Post has announced the nominations for its "Best Blogs -- Politics and Elections Readers' Choice Awards," and reaction... More

The Jackson Five

AP's Misleading Headline (clickfor larger image) Earlier today, the Kerry-Edwards campaign announced that Jesse Jackson had signed on as a... More

Wanna See ‘Inarticulate,’ Kerry? Catch This Headline

We noticed an odd headline on an Associated Press story on Yahoo News: "Kerry Calls Vote Change 'Inarticulate.'" How can... More

In Our Country, We Call it “Google”

In the category of "you never know what you'll find until you look," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today offers up a... More

USA Today Plays It Straight

Yesterday, Campaign Desk documented CNN's lame response to MoveOn's full-page ad in the New York Times criticizing Gallup's polling methods.... More

Boxing Gloves and Hurricane Warnings

If the Kerry camp is just recently taking the gloves off, then it's safe to say that bloggers never had... More

CNN Circles the Wagons on Polling

Disputes over polling techniques, once the exclusive province of statistic geeks and partisan bloggers, heated up and spilled over to... More

Are These Debates or Synchronized Swimming?

Kudos to Editor & Publisher for rounding up some of the country's "leading journalists," all of whom are unhappy with... More

Pass the Brownies

In an interview with Jon Stewart earlier this month, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly expressed dismay at the size of... More

Noble Adventure, or Squalid Dead End?

Thursday's opening debate and its topic -- foreign policy -- has garnered much speculative ink even though it hasn't happened... More

The Dark Arts of Predictive Punditry

At this late date in the election season, Campaign Desk is as weary as the next person of conflicting poll... More

Bread and Circuses - Forget Cicero

With George Bush and John Kerry hunkered down with aides preparing for Thursday night's opening debate, here's a newspaper article... More

CBS: From Trigger Happy to Gun-Shy

CBS News will postpone a prepared segment questioning one of the Bush administration's rationales for invading Iraq, the New York... More

Grumpy Old Men and Gentle Light Jazz

David Broder incurs the wrath of the blogosphere with his Sunday Washington Post piece lamenting "a widespread loss of confidence... More

One Small Step

Over the weekend, the Associated Press did an unusual thing, and newspaper readers who witnessed the event took note. (Thanks... More

Shoe Leather; We Remember It Well

Here's a novel idea: Given that voter turnout is going to be crucial to whatever happens on November 2nd, and... More

Knight Ridder: Still the Point Man

As far back as January, we learned that in the months before the invasion of Iraq, Knight Ridder, alone among... More

If You Build It, They Will Come

Ben Karlin, executive producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," during a Q&A Friday on Question: "Why do... More

Mike Jenner on His Editorial Outburst, The Press’ Focus on the Immediate Rather Than the Significant, and Fair and Balanced Listeners

Mike Jenner Mike Jenner is the executive editor of The Bakersfield Californian. He joined the Californian in 1993 as... More

A Campaign Desk Honor Roll, of Sorts

As Campaign Desk wobbles into the home stretch of a year of critiquing the campaign press on a daily basis,... More


CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," aired at 7pm each night, has lately added a short segment called "Campaign Playbook." Cramming as... More

Security Moms — Here Today, Gone Today

Ooops. Forget "security moms." Hot on Tuesday; stale by week's end. (Shelf life of a scone.) While many in the... More

Clarify This

Thanks to a reader for this one. The Associated Press reports today: "President Bush suggested on Thursday that he wanted... More

“You First, I’ll Wait Here”

Back in August, Campaign Desk awoke one morning to find a press corps aggressively dissecting and discrediting charges from the... More

One Reporter Left Behind

Covering a speech by President Bush in Latrobe, Penn., Raymond Hernandez of The New York Times this morning writes, "Mr.... More

Pass That Grain of Salt

Campaign Desk has a thing about polls and their use and misuse. On the heels of an excellent =todays%5Ffree%5Ffeature">primer on... More

Debategate Is Clanging Already

One week until Bush v. Kerry Round One, and the debates debate persists in the blogosphere this morning. "Dumb, Dumb,... More

Three Peas in a Pod? An Update

On Monday, we posted an item criticizing CNN political analyst Bill Schneider for appearing to endorse the view of House... More

“Security Moms” Are Everywhere!

Swing voters and polls, while a far cry from cream-colored ponies and crisp apple streudels, are a few of lazy... More

Setting a Low Bar

Yesterday Mickey Kaus, writing on Slate, referred to "this week's coming CW [conventional wisdom] sigh of relief that the campaign... More

‘Sphere Autopsies CBS, Declares Entire Press Dead on Arrival

Checking in for the latest, we find that, while the Rather Roast still holds its appeal (though the latest Roger... More

Reporter Visits UN, Morphs into Swami

Today, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler goes bravely where no campaign journalist has gone before: into the minds of world... More

On Deadline? Here’s Your Headline!

What does it take to ensure that your sound bite gets past all those sophisticated hard-bitten scribes on the campaign... More

A Day in The Bubble

By Brian Montopoli Editor's note: Campaign Desk's Brian Montopoli joined the reporters accompanying Senator John Kerry as they passed through... More

Fixing Democracy, Flies on the Wall and Flirting in French

Newsweek's political reporters are good at coming up with details that seem to offer readers a fly-on-the-wall glimpse inside the... More

CBS Does Its Ben Hecht Imitation - and Pays For It

There's an old saying that you never want to watch either sausage, legislation or journalism being made. Now that we... More

The Fraud Squad

When will the outcome of the presidential election be known? Within hours of the close of polling? Within a week?... More

AP Chalks Up Another Contender

As a Campaign Desk reader pointed out, something strange is afoot in today's Associated Press story by Pauline Jelinek. The... More

WSJ’s Harwood Measures the Yardsticks

Over the summer Campaign Desk came across Vaughn Palmer, a columnist for the Vancouver Sun, who reacted in the most... More

Rural R’s and Urban D’s

Over the course of this election season, Bill Bishop of the Austin American-Statesman has been crunching voting data and rolling... More

Dick Cheney, Dennis Hastert, Bill Schneider - Three Peas in a Pod?

At a campaign rally on Saturday with Vice President Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert declared that al Qaeda "would like... More

Left, Right, All Have Questions and Want Answers

As November 2 draws ever closer, left-leaning bloggers are bottom-lining election 2004 -- pondering what the race boils down to... More

Frank Rich on Fox, CNN and Self-Immolation

As Campaign Desk has before him, Frank Rich in today's New York Times bemoans CNN's "casual abandonment of even a... More

Loaded for Bear

Voters headed to the polls November 2 won't be there just to decide the fates of John Kerry and George... More

This Poll We Paid For Must Mean Something

Campaign Desk took a look at this subject -- when polls go bad -- yesterday, but today's brazen display by... More

Glenn Kessler on Fact-Checking Candidates, Getting Off the Bus, and Reporters Who Are Ahead of the Curve

Glenn Kessler Glenn Kessler is a diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post, and often contributes to the Post's political... More

Is $100 Oil a Campaign Story? And If Not, Why Not?

By Corey Pein After Wednesday's OPEC meeting and in time for yesterday's papers, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the Iraq... More

Fueling the Debate

James Ridgeway of The Village Voice makes a glaring error in his column urging John Kerry to just be himself.... More

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

On the way to work this morning, we picked up one of New York's free papers, Metro, and discovered the... More

No Heavy Lifting Here Either

The angle on this one is "hidden" because the reporter chose not to pursue it at all. Today, the Associated... More

“Yesterday … Now I Need a Place to Hide Away”

We're not the only ones who have bemoaned the fact that the press has spent too much of its... More

… As If Seeing the Light on the Road to Damascus

For months now, Campaign Desk has been encouraging political reporters to commit two kinds of heresy: first, to put an... More

Candidate Blogs: No Heavy Lifting Required

It's been a while since we took a look at the Establishment blogs and with less than seven weeks left... More

All the W’s Except for the Big One

Since many of us here at Campaign Desk fall into the category of "young" as defined by the press, we... More

Unused Tools

David Sanger of The New York Times obviously hasn't bookmarked If he had, with the flick of a finger... More

A Pro Steps Up

Even as John Kerry adds more manpower to hone his message, he (and his handlers) would be well-advised to clip... More

Who Got the Scoop - And Was It Even a Scoop?

The blogscussion over the CBS Killian documents has moved from the initial story -- Are the documents forgeries? -- to... More

Editors: Threat or Menace?

It's no secret that we here at Campaign Desk crave meat, nice chewy facts and statistics that we can sink... More

The CBS Furor

A few readers have asked why Campaign Desk hasn't weighed in on the furor over the disputed CBS documents purporting... More

Target: Kerry’s Shrum, CBS’ Rather

There's some good stuff in the newsmagazines this week, including Time's interview with John Kerry. (Most of the best quotes... More

Trapped in the Cage of Format

Yesterday morning, Hurricane Ralph, presently located in Miami, made an appearance on CNN. Viewers gawked as Ralph went on the... More

Bloggers at War

Last week's CBS report on the disputed Jerry Killian memos and the blogosphere's role in first questioning their validity is... More

The Times Crosses the Line

In its lead story in this morning's paper, The New York Times follows President Bush on the campaign trail to... More

Jeff Danziger on Psychology Majors, Cruel Cartoonists, and the Hopelessness of Ever Understanding the World

Jeff Danziger Jeff Danziger is a syndicated political cartoonist. He has worked for the Christian Science Monitor and the... More

Hospital Report

Campaign Desk had an aneurysm today. The cause, medical experts found, was a story in the Los Angeles Times headlined... More

Getting It Right in 300 Words

This morning our palsied hands were momentarily steadied when a Campaign Desk reader (along with an Associated Press reporter with... More

More Hat Tips Tragically Cut Down in Their Adolescence

Seems lately like every time Campaign Desk reaches upward to tip our hat, our fingers spasm and convulse just before... More

Cheney Crosses Invisible Line, Press Pounces

On Tuesday, Dick Cheney told an audience that if Americans make the "wrong choice" on election day, "the danger is... More

Earning Their Wings

By Thomas Lang Sometimes if you sit on the beach and focus your gaze on the middle distance, you can... More

Wherein Campaign Desk Saves You $1,699

If there's an Insider's Bible in Washington D.C., it's National Journal, a thorough weekly compilation of what happened in Washington... More

Letting Your Guard Down

It's all National Guard all the time today in the blog world, or at least the left-leaning portion of it.... More

A Shot Across the Bow or a Sign of the Times?

In his speech at the Republican National Convention last week, President Bush garnered laughter and applause by taking a shot... More

Who … Us?

Why did John Kerry spend much of the month of August on the defensive, attempting to refine his murky position... More

Crystal-Balling the Advice for Kerry

Mickey Kaus boldly challenges the CW -- offered recently by Bill Clinton, Evan Bayh, and the editors of The Note... More

Altogether Now: -16 + 7 = -9

A month has hardly passed without the press falling victim to the Kerry campaign's repeated attempts to distort the number... More

The Antiwar Candidate?

Covering a campaign speech by President Bush in Lee's Summit, Mo. this morning, Agence France-Presse quoted President Bush verbatim: "When... More

Spinners Spin Selves

Campaign Desk has previously lamented cable shows whose ideas of "news" is to slap two campaign officials on air to... More

Paul Bunyan Versus Fifi the Poodle

Post-convention assessments dominate the news magazines this week, and the debate is largely about whether voters vote for form over... More

The Three Kings Find Gold

After a dismal performance by the major news organizations in fact-checking the Wednesday night assertions and accusations of Vice President... More

Frances and Clinton: This Is Campaign News?

Hurricanes and health scares rarely seem to produce journalism's finer moments (particularly so with broadcast journalism). Both are unpredictable, involve... More

Mike Pesca on Bloggers, Convention Obstacles, and Unicameral Legislatures

Mike Pesca Mike Pesca has covered the Democratic and Republican conventions for NPR's mid-day news program "Day to Day."... More

Chris Matthews Whiffs at a Fat, Slow One

Around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews conducted a brief interview with former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson. Simpson (apparently taking... More

They’re Singing Our Song

This morning, Campaign Desk was riffling through The New York Times' special convention section when we ran across a piece... More

Local Papers Pummeled

Earlier today Campaign Desk reported on the failure of some big-time national reporters to address the various factual errors delivered... More

Wednesday Night Report Card

Through the magic combination of TiVo, TVEyes, and real-time viewing, we were able to have a look at how each... More

“Oh, Woe Is Us, They Hate Us”

Wednesday night, Aaron Brown, CNN's version of an "introspective" late-night anchor, hosted a short segment, reported by Washington Post and... More

“Oh, Good, Here’s the Post: Hand Me Page 25, Hon”

If there's a theme to this campaign season, it has to be vicious, misleading spin, and the press corps' collective... More

Loose Cannon or Secret Weapon — Part IX

Today, the breakfast of choice in the blogosphere is Democratic Sen. Zell Miller, whose maniacal speech last night to Republicans... More

Street Fight: Cardboard Fans at Twenty Paces

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. And if freebies were viewers, CNN and MSNBC would ride a little higher,... More

Watching the BBC Watch “Arnie” and “Bushie”

What would a non-American reporter -- perhaps, a eurojourno -- make of last night's prime time Republican National Convention speakers,... More

The Post Roots Out One Speaker’s Distortions

Today The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler takes a hard look at Rudy Giuliani's criticism of John Kerry delivered during his... More

“Shut Up, Fox!”

Outside the Fox building at 48th Street and 6th Avenue yesterday, hundreds of protesters gathered. Apparently in sync with Fox... More

Annoyed, Bloggers Turn on the Twins, Themselves and Kamp Kerry

Day Three of the RNC, and the blog world has some common thoughts: The Bush Twins, a critical review of... More

Of Cops and Reporters and Their Antagonists

Yesterday afternoon, in Union Square, I watched a group of cops stand passively as a middle-aged woman in slept-in clothes... More

Visiting the Gnomes of the Loyal Opposition

If the number one wish of the propagandists laboring away in the Democratic National Committee's temporary New York "war room"... More

New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true - Data from Project Word quantifies challenges of freelance investigative reporting

Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist - A reply to Paul Krugman on state taxes and job growth made some incorrect claims

Why we ‘stave off’ colds - It all started with wine

The New Republic, then and now - Tallying the staff turnover at the overhauled magazine

Why serious journalism can coexist with audience-pleasing content - Legacy media organizations should experiment with digital platforms while continuing to publish hard news

The rise of feelings journalism (TNR)

“Bloom engaged in an increasingly popular style of writing, which I’ve discussed on my blog before, which I call “feelings journalism.” It involves a writer making an argument based on what they imagine someone else is thinking, what they feel may be another person’s feelings. The realm of fact, of reporting, has been left behind.”

Things a war correspondent should never say (WSJ)

“The correspondent retelling war stories surely knows that fellow correspondents had faced the same dangers or worse”

On WaPo trying to interview a cow (National Journal)

“‘I wasn’t milked on the White House lawn by a strange man,’ The Washington Post—the venerable institution that would later come to break the Watergate scandal and win 48 Pulitzers—quoted her, a farm animal, as saying”


Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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