It’s Mother’s Day in the Blogosphere

Now that everyone’s doing it — blogging, that is — we thought we’d drop in this morning on a few of the Big Boys’ Blogs.

At NBC’s The Daily Nightly, Brian Williams is bracing himself to cover Hurricane Rita and noting that many of the preparations going on in Texas and environs are eerily familiar from Katrina’s early days. “I’d compare it to ‘Groundhog Day,’” Williams observes gloomily, “but it was a comedy, as I recall.” (Indeed it was, but Bill Murray was a weatherman, if that helps Williams’ comparison at all).

Over at, Steve Harrigan of the “Harrigan on the Hunt” blog is trying to keep his mind occupied by typing up everything he has eaten at various airports en route to Iraq for a reporting trip. We get this from Charles de Gaulle:

“Sipping an Evian. Had a pain au chocolate and a croissant … Read a stack of magazines on the flight, then fell asleep. Elderly woman next to me seized my arm during turbulence then pulled away as if it had not happened. There is really nothing you can do to forget you are going to Iraq. I had some fine scallops before I left. They were served in a turret.”

In an earlier post from the Newark, N.J. airport we learn that Harrigan ate “Ham and eggs at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, coffee in a Styrofoam cup.”

Jake Tapper, on his relatively new blog at, is getting “Down and Dirty” for … his mom. (Don’t blame us, that’s the name of Tapper’s blog). Tapper takes readers “behind the script” of an “ABC Nightly News” segment about the fashion business’ reaction to Kate Moss’ alleged cocaine use, essentially posting the entire segment’s script with his comments sprinkled throughout. Tapper concedes that this might make for a boring blog post, but writes that “since I kind of figure the only one who reads this blog is my mom, anyway, (Hi, mom!) I figured I’d write stuff I think she’d find interesting.” He ends the post with a sweet shout-out to Mother Tapper: “Hope you enjoyed it, Mom. — Jacob.”

Speaking of moms, we’re guessing the New York Times wishes it never had. Louise Story’s problematic story “Many Women At Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood,” which ran on A1 of Tuesday’s Times, appears to have stuck in many a blogger’s craw, not to mention in Jack Shafer’s, who notes that the piece “uses the particularly useful weasel-word ‘many’ 12 times — including once in the headline — to illustrate the emerging trend of Ivy League-class women who attend top schools but have no intention of assuming the careers they prepared for.” Shafer labels the piece “bogus” but writes that “it can’t be false because it never says anything sturdy enough to be tested.”

So how did the piece land on A1? Shafer brushes off the possibility there is “a New York Times conspiracy afoot to drive feminists crazy and persuade young women that their place is in the home,” determining, rather, that “a Times editor glommed onto the idea while overhearing some cocktail party chatter — ‘Say, did you hear that Sam blew hundreds of thousands of dollars sending his daughter to Yale and now she and her friends say all they want in the future is to get married and stay at home?’ — and passed the concept to the writer or her editors and asked them to develop it.” Sounds eerily plausible to us.

At CBS’s Public Eye, Dick Meyer is “… So Glad CBS Didn’t Do This Story.” “Perhaps,” Myer gently posits, “the author was simply trying to dress up a trend story by inventing a non-existent controversy.” Perhaps.

Story’s story is based on “interviews with Ivy League students, including 138 freshman and senior females at Yale who replied to email questions sent to members of two residential colleges over the last school year.” David Goldenberg at Geflog got a copy of the Times’ email questionnaire from one of the students surveyed and — doing what bloggers do best — he posts it on his site. Goldenberg’s conclusion? “[T]his dubious article doesn’t prove much, besides that the Times should get out of the survey business.”

And finally, we wondered what Ms. Musings, Ms. magazine’s blog, would have to say about all of this. What did we find? Well, Christine ruminates thusly: “I’m willing to bet we’d be a lot further along in our discussions if the media focused half as much on the persistent obstacles to egalitarian child-rearing as it does on women who choose to stay at home.” (Now there’s a thought!) Christine even maps out — nudge, nudge, Times — a specific story idea. “The multi-part series (think big) I’m imagining would obviously cover issues such as the lack of affordable childcare and compare U.S. support for families against that of Western European countries. It would also investigate the broader social context, including countervailing forces such as the Christian right and the current political and social philosophy of the Bush administration. And the series would include the voices of — brace yourselves — current fathers and future wannabe fathers (hey, it’s my fantasy). Other than Yale’s dean, Peter Salovey, no other male is quoted in the most recent Times story. Unfortunately, this is the norm.”

That’s right. Christine is arguing (persuasively, to boot) that men need more of a voice in the media. This is not your mom’s Ms.

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.