Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Chicago Way 

We were starting to think that the obsessive fixation of certain lefty bloggers on the Washington Post's latest affirmative-action hire, junior-league creationist conservatard Coretta-King-bashing home-schooled fuckwit-cum-movie critic-cum-son-of-an-Abramoff-flunky Ben Domenech, was perhaps becoming a trifle unwholesome. Then we stumbled across the following item (at the office of our distinguished colleague Dr. Alterman) and remembered Sean Connery's sage advice to Kevin Costner in The Untouchables -- you don't bring a custard pie to a nuclear-missile exchange:
Christopher Graff, 52, a writer who was in charge of The A.P.'s Vermont bureau in Montpelier, was told Monday he no longer had a job. The move came after he put a partisan column on the wire, and as the news agency is consolidating some of its bureaus across state lines . . . .

Emerson Lynn, editor and publisher of The St. Albans Messenger, said one clue to Mr. Graff's departure might have been The A.P.'s having told him this month that it was inappropriate for him to have posted a column by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, on the wire.

Mr. Lynn said that for the last two years, The A.P. had prepared a package of articles about Sunshine Week, in which media organizations advocate openness in government. Senator Leahy had written a column highly critical of the Bush administration on the matter for the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

The column said, for example, that "the foundations of our open government are under direct assault from the first White House in modern times that is openly hostile to the public's right to know."

On March 8, Mr. Graff posted Mr. Leahy's column on an advance wire that carries material that can be used at a later date. He had attached an editor's note saying Mr. Leahy "was asked by the American Society of Newspaper Editors for his thoughts on the status of the right to know for use in Sunshine Week, organized by media organizations and other groups to combat government secrecy and bring attention to the public's right to know."

The A.P. removed the column from the advance wire within an hour and advised newspapers not to run it.

Mr. Lynn said Mr. Graff called him and told him he had been criticized for posting a column that The A.P. said had compromised the integrity of the wire service.

Mr. Lynn said Mr. Graff was surprised because he had posted a similar column from Senator Leahy last year during Sunshine Week and had not heard any criticism and because Senator Leahy had held a hearing last year on the matter and Walter Mears, a former A.P. executive editor and vice president, had testified.
UPDATE: We are reliably informed that the correct version of the Sean Connery line is "He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." The custard pie line should be attributed to Stanley Kubrick, who said it after an early test screening of Dr. Strangelove.

We regret the error.

UPDATE II: Gags We Wish We'd Thought Of Dept.: Young Domenech now turns out to be a serial plagiarist (click here and keep on scrollin'), prompting Spocko, a meta-metacommenter at Metacommments, to remark that "Ben's CV was created by using Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V."

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